Thursday, 2 January 2014

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES - Review By Greg Klymkiw - The Dreaded Hispanic Fifth Wheel

More of the same found footage activities of the paranormal kind come our way in this fifth instalment of the ghostly horror series about witchcraft and demonic possession captured by people who seem to do nothing else but shoot every second of their lives through home video cameras.

Come join me at
Satan's Tupperware Party!
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) *
Dir. Christopher Landon
Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh

Review By Greg Klymkiw

After seeing the first Paranormal Activity, I hoped there'd never be a sequel. I knew this was wishful thinking, but when I see a picture that feels perfect, I don't want its existence besmirched by an endless barrage of substandard instalments that deliver more of the same, but go out of their way to generate useless backstory and fleshing-out. After seeing the first film, I felt delectably walloped, but was also left with enough questions about what had occurred that they enriched the experience by lending an air of mystery to the proceedings. I didn't want to know that Katie was the target of an ages-old conspiracy of witches carrying out demonic possession, nor did I want to know the reasons why. What happened in the first film was enough.

Even still, I'd gird my loins appropriately and then faithfully see each and every new instalment. Parts II and III of the followups, though bereft of the power of the first, were surprisingly fun, creepy and offering enough jolts to satisfy me on visceral levels. Part IV, though, seemed like the beginning of the end and the latest instalment comes close to tarring and feathering Oren Peli's original offering.

I might be possessed, but I still
brush my teeth twixt hauntings.
The Marked Ones is set against the backdrop of California's Hispanic community. Given how scary Santeria is - at least for this fella - I thought that maybe we'd go into somewhat different territory. Alas, this is something that's never exploited for what it could have been worth.

What it barfs up instead is a Hispanic kid with a video camera discovering weird stuff in an apartment below his own family's abode.

A well-known witch in the community boasts a series of odd comings and goings including a pal from school. The pal is always distant and in a hurry. Lucky, for all concerned, we're treated to a ritual involving the naked old witch and a gorgeous young lovely displaying full frontal nudity. However, what follows is pure tedium until the last 20-or-so minutes when the filmmakers deliver a close-but-no-cigar fright-fest.

This, of course, is hardly enough to save the picture.

A clutch of Hispanic kids break into the apartment after it's been sealed with police tape after a grisly murder and then, more of the same - weird noises, odd images and the ever-mounting dread that a kick-ass climax will ensue. The movie briefly skirts with Hispanic gang involvement, but this is never properly fleshed out. Like all the sequels, we never get a sense of the characters and hence, don't really care what's going to happen.

This is all more retreading on a well worn series and the only new element is that the filmmakers have ensured a whole new marketplace amongst Hispanic audiences. Replete with vaguely ethnocentric trappings, one expects appearances from either Topo Gigio and/or The Frito Bandito.

How the mighty continue to fall - this time to the strains of La Cucaracha.

"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is in wide theatrical release worldwide via Paramount.