Did you miss your annual dose of Paranormal Activity last year? I did. I know myself and a select few others are alone on this, but I will stand behind this franchise until the bitter end (which, briefly, I had thought was Paranormal Activity 4). With that said, I was never really looking forward to this spin-off (if you want to call it that). The trailers did nothing for me, it seemed like an easy (and brilliant) cash grab for it’s core demographic and nothing more. Truthfully, The Marked Ones feels the least like a Paranormal movie and that is both incredibly refreshing and frustrating.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is presented as though it’s centered around the witchcraft element of the series, and while it is, it really just comes off more like Paranormal Activity: We Took The Plot From Chronicle & Added Some Witches. That is really the plot though: Jesse, the main character, is ultimately possessed by the same demon that took Katie & Kristi. It follows the expected route of a movie from this franchise but it, for the first time, has fun with it, way more fun than whatever the fourth installment was. In addition to all of the fun, it’s also the most lively of the Paranormal movies – and I can say that confidentially. While I enjoy the first 3, they move incredibly slow. This one gets right into it (for this franchise, that is) and is kind of relentless. It builds as well, to an extremely fun, if slightly too ridiculous finale and all-too-convenient twist ending (one that shows some effort, I’ll give them that), but you’re kind of too wrapped up in the ridiculousness of it to be bothered by the mostly terrible acting, script and straight-to-DVD quality of it all.
While it veers from the expected plotting the franchise has come to adhere to (and lazily so in the last feature) it never successfully branches out and makes us care about this singular film, a film that, I’m assuming, the studio would like to turn into a separate franchise, because of course. With every Paranormal movie, it all leads to the finale and this is where this one succeeds. With everything that comes before it in the movie, the finale delivers – depending on what you were expecting. Without spoiling it too much, there is some closure, a fun final scene (again, also convenient twist ending) and it’s really just kind of balls to the wall fun. Scary? Debatable. It has it’s moments.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones breathes a fresh life into what was becoming a stale franchise, but not enough to reinvent it.