Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – AKA Paranormal Activity 5

Runtime: 84 minutes
Release Date: January 3, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Christopher Landon

After getting a new camera as a graduation present, teenage Jesse decides to use the camera to document the things that he and his friends do. Not long into the film, we learn that his downstairs neighbor Anna tends to keep to herself and people think she's a witch. Late one night, he and his friends see a neighborhood man named Oscar running from Anna's apartment, and the police later find her dead body.

Jesse and his best friend Hector gain access to the apartment and plan to look for evidence. They find a bunch of photographs, including one of Jesse as a child, and they also find some videotapes that show Kristi and Katie from the previous films. After sneaking some girls into the apartment, Jesse rushes off to find a condom, and his date discovers a trapdoor hidden in the floor. When she opens it, Oscar pops up and attacks her before running away. At the same time that all this happens, Jesse discovers that he can do things that he could never do before. In order to uncover the reason for his new abilities, he needs to find out how he's connected to Anna and the women from the earlier films.

Is it bad that I didn't know this film even existed until it was already in theaters for a few weeks? Is it bad that I completely forgot that it even came out until I saw it at Redbox a few weeks ago? It's not that I necessarily hate the Paranormal Activity movies. In fact, I hated the first one, but I've come around and actually found them fairly enjoyable. It's just that it didn't look very entertaining.

According to the producers of the film, this isn't a reboot or a sequel to the earlier films but a cousin to those films. That's fine and dandy except that it clearly connects its story to the other films by bringing in the Katie and Kristi videos, showcasing a character from the last film, and then actually bringing back Katie herself. What is odd is that this is the fifth film in the series but a Paranormal Activity 5 comes out later this year.

Despite getting some favorable reviews, I wasn't happy with the movie. It honestly felt like the producers and directors aimed this film at a younger generation and not necessarily the same people who made the original films such a hit. Sure it's nice when the boy who gets picked on gains superpowers that let him fight back against his bullies, but we've all seen Spiderman before. The scenes that should have made my jaw drop seemed more like something I might catch on YouTube. It just felt like it didn't bring anything new to the franchise.

Though Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones wasn't my favorite, it made more than $80 million at the box office and there are plans for several more in the series.

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