Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (R)

Horror 84 January 3rd, 2014
By Stephanie Zacharek
It's usually only white suburban people who fall prey to movie ghosts and demons. That's why it was a stroke of genius to set Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones in a semi-urban Latino neighborhood, a place where multiple generations of family often live under the same roof, where your neighbors are so close, you can hear them through the vents in your bedroom. The first half of The Marked Ones is lively enough, and funny enough, to work on its own merits. Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz) are best pals who have just graduated from high school but who haven't given a single thought to the future. Life is short! Why not do dumb stuff and record it on a borrowed video camera? Jesse sends Hector bumping down a wooden staircase in a plastic laundry basket, preserving the event for posterity. Meanwhile, that witchy downstairs neighbor is murdered, and when Jesse and Hector break into her apartment, they find stuff like crude cow figurines and possible bonelike objects -- though none of that stops them from trying to turn the space into a love shack when they meet two local hotties at a party. There's no formal logic as to why the characters are filming the found footage, and on the sliding scale of shaky-cam standards, The Marked Ones is really shaky. Bring Dramamine, or a barf bag. The big problem is the picture's tone: In the second half, specifically, The Marked Ones is nastier and more mean-spirited than any of the other Paranormals.
Christopher B. Landon Molly Ephraim, Richard Cabral, Kimberly Ables Jindra, Eddie J. Fernandez, Jorge Diaz, David Fernandez Jr., Hector Luis Bustamante, Tonja Kahlens, Crystal Santos, Carlos Pratts Oren Peli Jason Blum, Oren Peli Paramount Pictures