I really like scary movies. The first one that I remember watching was Phantasm, back in the early 1980’s. That movie had a creepy mausoleum, a creepy tall man, and creepy silver balls that drilled into people’s heads. Not to mention all the other stuff that was crammed into that movie that was just out of this world. I have seen a ton of scary movies, so I would say that I don’t scare easily, and I was not expecting a big scare from Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the continuation of the franchise.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fifth installment in the Paranormal Activity series. Starting with the story of Katie and Micah, the story progressed through Katie’s possession by a demon, her kidnapping a child, and then using that child later in a demonic ritual with a coven of witches or devil worshipers, take your pick. In the middle was a movie about Katie’s history with the demon and additional information regarding the coven/cult trying to bring about some form of Hell on earth.
This current installment explores the story, seemingly, outside of what has happened in the previous films. Beginning with two friends, Hector and Jesse, playing around with Hector’s new video camera, this story is a little slow as they lay down the characters of Jesse, Hector, Marisol, Anna, Oscar, and several other characters that come and go in the different scenes. The characters are likeable, friendly, and noticeably Hispanic… whether this is a just a marketing technique or a way to expand the action to the other side of town is not clear. I liked the fact that this was used as a way to introduce a bruja, or witch in the Hispanic culture. Also, with the heavily Catholic/religious nature of the Hispanic culture, this allows the additional introduction of certain cleansing rituals and the ever popular Spanish-speaking grandma with a rosary. We even get a scene where a crucifix is knocked off the wall by some unknown force.
Besides the basic “BOO” shocks of this film, the premise is twisted as the film explains how first born sons are marked while still in the womb in a strange ritual that is some sort of preparation for their possession by demons to create an army to rule the world… I guess. That is a neat concept and can really expand this franchise, because there can always be another person or family dealing with the son who was marked. Plus, it turns out that Anna, the bruja, was marking pregnant women, so she is part of this secret group. Her death leads to the story developing, although not very quickly, and as a scary movie, it is more about the shocks than the real scare.
I got to watch this movie with my daughter, who also likes scary movies, but we both kind of left with a feeling like this was a good movie but not great. If you were a fan of the first four, then this is definitely a recommendation, because it really draws together the strings of the other movies in a way that, by the end, you will be saying, “That was pretty cool.” I give this movie a solid 3, but pushed it up to a 3.5 based on the unique twists that were offered in the last 20 minutes. It’s fun, but no blockbuster.