The Paranormal Activity series is the leader in no-frills thrills. Shot on minuscule budgets and raking in huge dollars, it has reached its fifth entry. Whilst other horror films have been made on the same budget, they’ve had more imagination. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the same as the others, revealing little creativity. Once again having people scream in front of a shaky camera, this doesn’t conjure scares. It does generate wonder though – at how it has made much out of very little.
Living in an apartment complex filled with Mexican migrants, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) loves life. Events take a sinister turn when a neighbour suddenly dies. Taking a camera to investigate, he discovers items relating to black magic and voodoo. Perplexed by this, he soon notices strange happenings. Caught in a spectral quagmire, Jesse’s friends attempt to save him. Battling demons from another dimension, only strength of will can save his soul from eternal damnation.
Setting Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones from previous entries is its setting. Having new characters residing in a multi-level apartment block with their ethnic backgrounds brings different textures. How their beliefs are rattled by the increasingly fraught occurrences provides interest. That, plus a sense of humour, make it more bearable to view than the others. Having an actual story is a bonus, with the producers making more effort in expanding the franchise.
Apart from that it’s the same cheap scares eliciting little fright. The level of anticipation has slowly eroded with each passing instalment, with Paranormal Activity’s bag of tricks running bare. The script uses a standard formula which, given how much cash this series has made, is understandable. Sadly it is neither scary nor memorable, with little imagination or flair evident. The performers do what they can with the meagre material, with risible dialogue wisely kept to a minimum.
If you’ve seen the other Paranormal Activity films, you know what to expect. Unfortunately it isn’t much with this latest entry showing worn-out mechanics wheeling off the production line of ACME-style horror.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 3