MRR Review: "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones"

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After being "marked," Jesse begins to be pursued by mysterious forces while his family and friends try to save him.
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MRR Review: "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones"

Rating: Rated R
Length: 84minutes
Release Date:January 3, 2014
Directed by:Christopher Landon
Genre:Horror and Thriller

"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is quite a surprise for many viewers who have followed the franchise starting from the first movie. Writer-director Christopher Landon has revived the series in a major way, delivering an additional installment that's arguably the best in the series. The movie is not only scary, but also fun and remarkably cinematic. The story successfully ties into the mythology presented in the series in a way that will shock, intrigue, and invigorate fans.

Although described as a spin-off, this Latino-themed movie doesn't head in an entirely new direction; instead of neglecting the plot of previous films, it perfectly fits with the series and accomplishes a mind-boggling finale. It delivers frightening scenes that will certainly give viewers the expected screaming fit and subsequent nightmares. "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" totally revamps the entire franchise and gives audiences something to look forward to in the next installment.

Set in a Latin neighborhood, the movie features a mostly Latin cast and explores Latin-American culture. The story starts with Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz) toying with their new video camera after filming their high school graduation. They enjoy playing with the camera until they accidentally spot a mysterious neighbor performing occult ceremonies that lead to a death. Jesse finds a strange bite mark on his arm one day and then realizes that he has superpowers that allow him to float above the ground and beat up thugs. Things seem fun until he and Hector discover the neighbor's unusual paranormal activity.

The plot offers several distinguishable twists on the series, and the introduction of new protagonists is a rather interesting one. Jacobs plays quite an engaging lead, and the supporting cast are very much empathic with him. As Jesse explores his physical changes, drastic results occur, making the movie more and more exciting every minute.

The majority of the scenes flow naturally, thanks to the superb acting of the cast. The leads exude wonderful chemistry as they perform actions and behaviors as normal people would. Their believable actions add authenticity to the plot, which involves plenty of the self-filming that's the trademark of the "Paranormal Activity" series. It's worth noting, however, that static camera no longer dominates the movie, and it's a good change, because it allows director Landon to employ different techniques. Although the characters had to use cameras for most parts of the film, the movie doesn't stick to the cliché theme of many similar-themed footage movies, where the characters need to document everything and keep on filming against all odds. In fact, the actors rarely talk to the camera at all, and this works favorably for the film.

Landon delivers a bold and blood-curdling movie that will surely inspire nightmares just as the original movie terrified unsuspecting audiences. The pacing is a bit frenetic, sometimes making the story muddled, and it can be difficult to figure out how the characters are related to each other. All in all, however, the movie is a great watch. It's the type of movie worth discussing with friends over and over again. Answers are cleverly sprinkled throughout the movie, and the characters resonate deeply with the audience. It's almost inevitable to care about them, especially when they get tangled in perilous situations. Audiences will most likely get carried away and care strongly about the characters' fates. This is a hard feat to accomplish, especially for a fifth installment in a long-running franchise. "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" brings back the thrill, excitement, anticipation, and fear the series is known for.

Something else is introduced in the movie that viewers may find very interesting. Jesse's superpower ability is a new addition to the series, but it blends well in the film's context and pays off big time. Not much is given away in the trailer, so fans can expect major surprises that will leave their jaws dropped. The movie's charm lies in how everything is pieced together. The storyline advances, questions get answered, and yet there's still plenty of mystery waiting to be unveiled.

"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is a solid entry in the series. It's definitely a must-watch movie as it portrays a compelling story, believable characters, additional elements, good scares, and the kind of action that comprise a great thriller. It's a satisfying rollercoaster ride that will baffle, astound, and impress viewers until the very end.

Rating:3 out of 5