Jesse and his friends Hector (Jorge Diaz, who lent his voice to GRAND THEFT AUTO V) and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh, also in her feature debut) spend their time trying to decipher just what is going on and linking the occurrences to a downstairs neighbor who recently turned up dead. But we know that their attempts to solve the mystery won’t amount to enough and, because it’s how all PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies end, the camera will cut out with the lead far from back to normal.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES is the fifth installment in the series, after entries from 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, which collectively grossed more than $350 domestically. Although this is the first time the studio has given audiences such an extended breather, the movie still feels like it was puked into production.
THE MARKED ONES has switched the lead character to a Latino, moved the setting to a lower-class environment and added a subtitle instead of a number in some attempt to make the franchise feel fresh. But writer/director Christopher Landon, who served as a producer of sorts on the previous two PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, has failed to incorporate anything new to the scares and has instead resorted to the same cheap tricks that have kept the series going, making this spinoff less of a departure than intended. There are certainly some spooky images (such as the witches), but it’s not enough to make it really feel like the filmmakers aren’t trying as hard as they did when Oren Peli was calling “Action!”
A treat for fans of the series will be the callbacks to previous entries and appearances from the more notable characters such as Katie Featherston.
Theatrical Version (84 minutes)
Found Footage (10:47): There are seven deleted scenes here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Grandma’s rant (in Spanish),” “Cleaning out Ana’s apartment,” “Chavo growling at the closet,” “Jesse on ledge of church after party,” “Possessed SIMON,” “Religious shop/Irma cleanses Jesse and apartment” and “MEUS in Jesse’s room.” These deleted scenes are all short and so are less about story than creating a few minor scares.