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Christopher Landon
Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh
Writing Credits:
Christopher Landon

Jesse begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbor. As he investigates, it isn't long before Jessie finds he's been marked for possession by a malevolent demonic entity, and it's only a matter of time before he is completely under its control.

Box Office:
$5 million
Opening Weekend
$18,343,611 on 2,867 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated R/Not Rated

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min. (Theatrical Version)
101 min. (Unrated Version)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/8/14

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Versions of the Film
• “Found Footage”
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 17, 2014)

With 2014’s The Marked Ones, the Paranormal Activity franchise delivers its fifth movie in only 51 months. Yeah, the original flick got a film festival debut in 2007, but it didn’t earn a broad release until October 2009, so few saw it until then.

Via a US gross of $32 million, Marked Ones becomes the weakest earner of the bunch, but given the low budget involved, it still turned a sizable profit. The $5 million cost of Marked Ones looks like big bucks compared to the $15,000 (!) of the first film, but it remains chump change in Hollywood terms.

Given those profits, I assume we’ll get yet another Paranormal Activity flick before too long, though probably not in the Marked Ones universe, as it detours a wee bit from its predecessors. Set in summer 2012, Marked Ones introduces us to Jesse (Andrew Jacobs), a recent high school graduate who uses some of the money given to him to buy a video camera.

Jesse claims that he hears weird noises from the apartment of downstairs neighbor Ana (Gloria Sandoval). He utilizes his new camera to document some of this and witnesses events like a strange ritual Ana conducts with a naked woman (Angelina Morales).

Matters become even more perplexing when Jesse’s valedictorian classmate Oscar (Carlos Pratts) shoots and kills Ana. From there, Jesse and his pal Hector (Jorge Diaz) escalate their investigation and soon find themselves amidst plenty of spooky weirdness.

When I reviewed Paranormal Activity 4, I disliked it and stated I should probably bail on the franchise. After all, I didn’t enjoy the first one either, and the two seemed so similar that it appeared unlikely a fifth entry would do much for me. (I never saw films two and three.)

So why did I give Marked Ones a look? Hope springs eternal, I guess, and also it came billed as more of a “cousin” to its predecessors instead of a tale directly connected to the others.

Unlike the first four Paranormal Activity films, Marked Ones doesn’t act as a true sequel/prequel. It becomes the first of the franchise to essentially leave out the Katie character from the original – as an active participant, that is. She does make an appearance, one that would fall into spoiler territory if I discussed it, but suffice it to say that she plays no real role in the film.

While this does make Marked Ones a deviation from the usual characters, it doesn’t alter the standard pacing/action template. In the prior films, we saw a lot of ordinary, everyday activity punctuated by occasional moments of alleged spookiness. Those occurred so infrequently – and were so forgettable – that the movies generated little to no tension/excitement.

Marked Ones tends to follow this mix of banal and supernatural, though I think it probably favors the latter more than its predecessors – especially during its second half. The first half of the movie may cause one to wonder if anything will ever happen in the movie beyond the antics of some Latino teens with a lot of time on their hands. Yeah, we see a few hints of the titular paranormal activity, but these remain small tidbits.

The situation improves in the second half, though, and occasionally threatens to redeem the rest. Marked Ones definitely leans on dramatic material more heavily than its predecessors, and this makes it semi-interesting.

For a while, at least. Without question, Marked Ones fares best in its second act. That section comes with the most intrigue as it hints at the supernatural changes within Jesse; the story adopts a bit of an Unbreakable feel and turns reasonably involving. Other components like a haunted electronic “Simon” game add a little pizzazz as well.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t work well. The first act lacks much of interest as it sets up the characters, and the third act simply goes off the rails with its twists and turns. I do appreciate that Marked Ones attempts more action than its sluggish cousins, but it doesn’t achieve much. It gives us plenty of antics but precious little actual horror or tension.

I guess it should count for something that Marked Ones provides a more interesting experience than its perpetually dull predecessors, but that doesn’t make it an honest to God “good movie”. Actually, this might become the biggest disappointment of the bunch, as it almost becomes enjoyable for a while before it loses its way. I might prefer it to the other flicks in the franchise, but I still don’t think much of Marked Ones.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Have you seen any of the other films in the franchise – or read any of my reviews? If so, you’ll know what to expect from this one’s visuals and audio.

Indeed, Marked Ones looked/sounded so much like its predecessors that I took the easy way out and went with good old cut and paste here. Hey, if all the movies look/sound the same, why reinvent the critical wheel?

Parts of the film looked pretty good, as daytime camcorder shots demonstrated nice definition and vivacity. However, interiors tended to be softer and muddier, and “night vision” elements were thick and bland. Those tended to display moderate artifacts as well.

Colors varied dependent on settings as well. During those exteriors, they looked natural and had some pop. When the movie went inside, though, the tones became more brown and flat. Blacks tended to be inky, and shadows were dense.

Again, none of this was a surprise – or a problem. A movie that purported to be captured by consumer electronics shouldn’t offer stellar visuals, so the inconsistent sharpness, colors and blacks made sense. Given the inherent blandness of the image, I didn’t feel comfortable with a grade above a “C+”, but I thought the Blu-ray captured the source appropriately.

Like the other films, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Marked Ones was often essentially monaural. Every once in a while, I’d hear some minor ambience from the side and rear speakers, but those moments occurred infrequently. The vast majority of the material – which tended to focus on speech – came from the front center channel. This made sense given the “found footage” nature of the project, but it didn’t create an involving soundscape – at least not until the climax, which opened up to the side and rears pretty well.

We got no score of any sort, and as I noted, effects were usually minor. These adequately captured the material given that they were supposed to sound like they were recorded with consumer-grade electronics.

Speech was also acceptable; the lines tended to sound a bit distant – as they would due to their “on the fly” origins – but the lines remained intelligible. You won’t use this track to demo your home theater, but it worked for the film.

The Blu-ray boasts both the film’s R-Rated Theatrical Version (1:24:12) as well as an Unrated Extended Cut (1:41:04). Because I only watched the longer edition, I can’t relate the differences, but I wanted to mention that both appear here.

Seven clips pop up under Found Footage. These fill a total of 10 minutes, 47 seconds and show short deleted scenes. These tend to add to existing sequences and give us a few extra character moments. Nothing especially memorable occurs in these.

A second disc delivers a DVD Copy of Marked Ones. It provides the theatrical cut of the film and some previews.

Does Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones improve on its predecessors? Yup. Does that make it a good movie? Nope. While it comes with a few effective moments, much of the film meanders and leaves us without much drama. The Blu-ray delivers acceptable picture and audio but lacks substantial bonus materials. Established fans of the franchise might enjoy this, but it seems unlikely to win over new viewers.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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