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Review of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
by Jeremy Thomas
Posted on June 7th, 2021
Negative 3
Overall Rating
i will say this for paranormal activity: the marked is the first film i know of which decided to use a milton bradley simon game as an ouija board. somehow i suspect it would have been more realistic to have our "heroes" own and be dumb enough to use an actual ouija board, but points for boldness. this spin-off film from the paranormal activity franchise had some potential, but none of it pans out. for one, the main characters are too irritating to make you want to sit through all their antics. say what you want about katie, kristi, micah, dennis, alex or ben but they were all at least somewhat engaging (if occasionally aggravating and/or stupid) people. jesse and hector, the leads here, are pretty much unlikeable. they're dull, spending all their time being idiotic teenagers who have nothing better to do than spy on neighbors and harass them. this is the "teenagers are allowed to be unlikable because teenagers are dumb" philosophy of horror films and it is frankly insulting. andrew jacobs and jorge diaz are bland but serviceable in the roles; frankly though they could have been really compelling actors and i doubt they could have done much with their characterizations. another problem is the fact that for much of the film, nothing happens. i know this is a common complaint of the franchise but in the previous films (even the extremely lackluster fourth one), there are occasional signs by halfway through the film that something is wrong. if the scares don't come fast and furious in those films, there is at least mood and tension being pushed up. it takes way, way too long for anything remotely tense, creepy or even supernatural to go down and by then many people may have already checked out. once it does delve deeper into the plot there are some ties back to the previous films. molly ephraim from the second film is back for what amounts to a cameo to tie in some mythology and there are some other, more spoilery ties. the middle of the second act and beginning of the third act comprise the best moments of this film when things look like they might get interesting, but then it all takes a turn for the seriously goofy. time travel comes into play, because of course it does. why not? sure, time travel has absolutely nothing to do with demonic possession in almost every demon story ever told but there's no need for us to make sense and the franchise does have a little wiggle room before it hits the ceiling of completely silly. throw in a few elements lifted nonsensically from chronicle (because apparently we must now steal from all previous found footage films) and you have the worst in the franchise. they really need to right this ship stat or just let the boat ride end, because it's hitting entirely new heights of inanity.
Jeremy Thomas

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