Review written by Rosie Taylor.
It’s the horror that has you begging cinema security to escort you to your car; you dive in and lock the doors, reassess and unlock because you might need a quick escape, reassess AGAIN and re-lock.
You bolt into your home – stopping briefly for a compulsory perimeter check – and flood the brooding expanse with the safety of fluorescent light. The Disney marathon can now begin.
The latest installment in the PA saga, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, inflicts the sustained terror that closes airways and has steroid-pumped bodybuilders stepping out to “take a phone call.”
The plot shifts from previous films, to an intelligent, Latin-focused fork on the Paranormal road. The film focuses on Jesse (Andrew Jacobs), a typical teenage boy who delves too far into things that ought to be left alone. After his school friend murders the elderly woman in the apartment below him, Jesse and his band of sidekicks, including best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz), seek answers. Jesse wakes with a bite-like mark on his forearm, and begins his dark decent, transforming to host a paranormal entity.
The two boys are appealing and believable, with some hilarious one-liners and a ‘bromantic’ chemistry to break up the morbid themes of death and possession. No complaints about the support cast either.
Director Christopher Landon ticks all the horror-genre boxes for those that enjoy feeling their chest constrict in anticipation (not me). “Let’s explore the dark, cobwebbed basement in this dead woman’s apartment – shut the trapdoor after you!” The Marked Ones favours sustained horror rather than sudden unexpected shocks, leaving the audience nervously giggling and covering their eyes as they wait for a ghoul to emerge amongst the hanging drop sheets or the now-possessed Jesse to murder his loved ones.
However, let’s face it, the ‘found footage’ style of filmmaking is tired and, often, now boring. Blair Witch Project was groundbreaking, and everyone got a little excited for the first few Paranormal Activity films, but it’s hard to see the gimmick enduring with quality hits. Although, it did serve to strengthen the appearance of camaraderie between the leads – I was convinced that these two were just a couple of real boys.
The Marked Ones comes full circle, tying a few knots with the loose ends of previous films. Of course, it’s an extended franchise here, so keep an eye out for Paranormal Activity 5 later this year.
Parting note: If you’re going to watch the film, steer clear of the trailer – it’s rife with spoilers of the most chilling sequences.