Tuesday, January 14, 2014

[Review] Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

The first Paranormal Activity was a commendable effort with an intriguing concept, elevating the potential of found footage horror. The second was more of the same but with a larger budget. The third reached greatness by improving on every element and fully utilizing creative tricks for suspense and effective scares (the oscillating fan-cam ruled). The fourth introduced a more modernized technology gaze but didn't entirely capitalize on that aspect or satisfy with its story.

And this brings us to The Marked Ones, which is only loosely connected to the main section of the series. In other words, you don't need to watch the other Paranormals before you see this film, and I also get the impression that this one isn't an essential viewing as the brand moves forward.

In a change of scenery and culture, this entry takes place in a Latino-centric neighborhood with all Hispanic characters. Once we get the obligatory lo-fi filler out of the way, the weird stuff starts happening. The group of friends catch the neighbor lady doing some witch-like rituals, unexpected deaths occur, and there's even a Ouija Simon game that is cool for a couple of minutes.

Jesse, the main character, eventually wakes up with a bite on his arm and realizes he has superhuman powers. This generates a few unamusing gags, reminiscent of those fake videos people upload to Youtube where anonymous usernames argue in the comments section about whether the footage is real or not. From there on, the friends investigate the demonic mysteries surrounding them, and everyone wonders what the hell is going on.

Unfortunately, the problem is we don't really care what's going on, and it doesn't seem like the filmmakers even know. Marked Ones is just too absurd and undercooked to provide any real dread or thrills, and it surely doesn't help that most of the climactic moments are shown in the trailer. It appears that found footage films are beginning to use the genre's tropes as lazy crutches--from the obscured camera angles, to the awkward continuity, and the abrupt endings.

Here's to hoping Paranormal Activity 5 will bring it better, come this October.


No comments:

Post a Comment