Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
|Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher B. Landon|
|Written by||Christopher B. Landon|
by Oren Peli
|Edited by||Gregory Plotkin|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$90.9 million|
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a 2014 American found footage supernatural horror film written and directed by Christopher B. Landon. Released on January 3, 2014 in the United States, it is the fifth film of the Paranormal Activity film series. It is also Landon's second directorial film, after Burning Palms. The Marked Ones received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $90 million worldwide.
In June 2012, high school graduate Jesse Arista lives with his father, sister and grandmother in Oxnard, California. He begins to enjoy the summer with his best friend, Hector. In the apartment below lives a mysterious woman named Ana, who everyone believes to be a witch. When Ana is found murdered, Jesse and Hector spot classmate Oscar running from the scene, suggesting he was responsible. The two investigate the apartment, where they find black magic items, as well as VHS tapes and a journal of spells that can "open doorways to unholy lands."
After Jesse, Hector and their friend Marisol try out a ritual, paranormal occurrences gradually begin to take place in Jesse's apartment. One night, the trio begin to communicate with an unknown entity through a game. Jesse finds a mysterious bite mark on his arm and also discovers he has superhuman abilities, which is proven when he knocks out two thugs that assault him. He and Hector at first view his abilities as a "gift". At a party, Jesse takes a girl to Ana's apartment to have sex and encounters Oscar, who has oily black eyes and a similar bite mark on his arm. He tells Jesse that it's only a matter of time before "something inside them" will take over, and if they kill themselves they will not harm those they love. Oscar rushes and disappears; when Jesse and Hector search for him outside, Oscar commits suicide by jumping off a building, landing on a car.
The group discover a secret trapdoor in Ana's apartment, where they find a witch altar and photos of Jesse, his pregnant mother, Ana, Oscar, and Lois. At the same time, a strange woman in black enters, but leaves after finding nothing. Jesse is lured to the trapdoor one night after hearing his dog Chavo barking for help, but the door slams shut and Jesse sees the ghostly figures of young Katie and Kristi before being attacked by a roaring demon.
Jesse's personality gradually becomes dark, suicidal, and extremely violent. Hector and Marisol are disturbed by Jesse's behavior and meet Oscar's criminal brother Arturo, who tells them that Oscar was in contact with Ali Rey, who had researched demons after her father and step-mother were killed and half-brother kidnapped by a possessed Katie. They meet with Ali, who tells them that Jesse has been "marked" by a worldwide coven of witches called the "Midwives", who have been brainwashing women to give up their firstborn sons to create an army of possessed young men. Ali gives an address to where a final ritual is supposed to take place, and warns that Jesse will no longer exist if the demon manages to fully consume him.
Jesse's concerned grandmother Irma visits a botánica and tries to cleanse Jesse, but he telekinetically tears the living room apart. The next morning, an ill Jesse pushes Irma down the stairs before disappearing. While Hector and Marisol drive to the hospital, Jesse ambushes them in the street and attacks Hector, but Marisol knocks him unconscious with a bat. As they are attempting to leave, a van smashes into their car, Irma got killed and Jesse is kidnapped.
With help from Arturo and his friend Santo, Hector and Marisol go to the address, which turns out to be Grandma Lois's house, where Katie and Kristi's mother and her boyfriend were killed. When they enter the garden, coven members with knives appear and begin to attack them. Arturo urges Hector and Marisol to flee and they both run to the house, leaving Arturo alone in the garden to defend himself. Santo is found dead by the front door. Marisol disappears, Arturo gets killed off-screen (it is implied that he was overpowered by the coven and then stabbed to death) and then thrown and smashed into a window near to Hector, later, Marisol's corpse is thrown through a glass roof. A possessed Jesse appears and chases Hector upstairs where Hector slams the door shut. Jesse's normal voice asks Hector to open the door but after he doesn't, Jesse breaks down the door causing Hector to open a strange brown door taking him through a portal to the events of October 8, 2006, at the household of Katie and Micah. Katie goes downstairs to the kitchen and screams for Micah upon seeing Hector. Micah assumes Hector is an intruder and attacks him, but Katie becomes hysterical and stabs him to death with a kitchen knife. Hector runs away, but Jesse, now completely under the demon's influence, appears and attacks him off-screen (presumably killing him) as the camera falls to the ground. A witch stares blankly at it before turning it off.
- Andrew Jacobs as Jesse Arista
- Jorge Diaz as Hector Estrella
- Gabrielle Walsh as Marisol Vargas
- Renée Victor as Irma Arista
- Noemi Gonzalez as Evette Arista
- David Saucedo as Cesar Arista
- Gloria Sandoval as Ana Sanchez
- Richard Cabral as Arturo Lopez
- Carlos Pratts as Oscar Lopez
- Juan Vasquez as Santo
- Dale Heidenreich as Luis Estrella
- Molly Ephraim as Ali Rey
- Katie Featherston as Katie
- Micah Sloat as Micah
- Chloe Csengery as Young Katie
- Jessica Tyler Brown as Young Kristi
- Hallie Foote as Grandma Lois
The film was announced in April 2012, and was first teased in the post-credits scene of Paranormal Activity 4, a scene only presented in theaters. Though the film is targeted to the Latino market, most of its dialogue is not in Spanish. Christopher B. Landon, who wrote the screenplay for 2007's Disturbia, as well as the three Paranormal Activity sequels, was announced to write and direct the project, which has been described as a "cousin" or "ese" to the series as opposed to a direct sequel, prequel, or reboot. The film maintains the look of found footage, a style used throughout the Paranormal Activity series.
Filming finished in late July, after producer Jason Blum confirmed that the film was almost finished shooting. This resulted in the film getting its release date pushed from October 25, 2013, to January 3, 2014.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was released on January 3, 2014 in U.S., Mexican and Canadian theaters. The release date was pushed to January due to its longer and larger production anded clip that was not seen shooting than the previous films.
An unrated version of this movie was also released with a runtime of 101 minutes with an extended scene that was not seen in theaters.
Despite predictions suggesting that The Marked Ones would open at #1 in its debut weekend, the film took a close second to Frozen (in its seventh week) with $18,343,611 at the North American box office.
By the end of its theatrical run, The Marked Ones grossed $32.5 million in North America and $58.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $90.9 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a score of 39%, with an average score of 4.6/10, based on 80 reviews. The site's consensus states: "A change of setting breathes some new life into the franchise, but Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones fails to provide enough consistent thrills to justify a fifth film in the series". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 19 reviews, considered to be "mixed or average reviews".
The change of setting and tone was primarily praised by critics. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, saying that it "feels like a fresh start". Variety critic Andrew Barker celebrated the "welcome diversity and humor" of the film as did Richard Corliss of Time magazine who summarised that the film "provided the familiar cheap thrills but with a salsa tang."  Filmink Magazine critic Eden Caceda applauded the humor and action, but claimed that the spin off "lacks the memorable scares required for this to rate any higher than an above average horror film."
Evan Dickson of Bloody Disgusting was the first to give his impressions on the film, giving it a positive review of 4/5. Stating, "Fun, scary and remarkably cinematic within the found footage conceit, The Marked Ones might be the first Paranormal Activity movie that feels like an event film while you’re watching it". Dickson also stated that it was "neck and neck with Paranormal Activity 3".
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- Andrew Barker. "Film Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones". Variety. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones: Familiar Scares With a Salsa Tang". Richard Corliss. Time Magazine. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- "Film Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones". Eden Caceda. Filmink. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- Dickson, Evan (December 30, 2013). "[BD Review] 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' Is A Remarkable Return To Form!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 3, 2014.