PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES
Release Date: January 03, 2014
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 84 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Christopher B. Landon
Executive Producer: Steven Schneider
Writer: Christopher B. Landon
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman, and Philippe Dauman, CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO, and Adam Goodman, President, Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000; Website: www.paramount.com
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES is set in a Latino barrio in Oxnard, California. Freshly graduated from high school, two teenage boys, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), acquire a camera (whose footage comprises the movie) and begin documenting their carefree exploits together. They record themselves shooting fireworks and drinking with friends at a post-graduation party, among other “jackass”-type exploits. They mock their reclusive and mysterious neighbor, Anna (Gloria Sandoval), and send a child to knock on her door. They jokingly call her a “bruia” (witch), which turns out to be the case.
Jesse and Hector hear strange sounds from Anna’s apartment one night. They decide to snake their miniature camera through the air vent to see what’s happening. They discover two naked women, one drawing occult symbols on the other. They excitedly tell their friend Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) about their discovery. That night, Anna is found dead in her apartment and taken away in a coroner van. Jesse, Hector and Marisol break into her apartment and discover occult books, figures, and imagery.
A demon seems to possess Jesse in the midst of their investigation. Jesse wakes up the next day with blood on his sheets and bite marks on his arms. He discovers he has supernatural powers, like leaning back from standing and not falling down, and throwing objects great distances. Over the course of the movie, the demonic possession turns Jesse increasingly dark and unable to control his actions. He kills his grandmother and runs away, prompting Hector and Marisol to look for him.
Contacting a friend with great familiarity with local witch covens and occult practices, they learn that Jesse has likely gone to a witch house as part of a lifelong ritual that targeted Jesse. They bring two gangbanger friends with them to rescue Jesse, and put themselves in imminent danger for the cause.
THE MARKED ONES is a simple, formulaic, abhorrent horror movie, the fifth in the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY line. The dialogue and acting is simple but realistic in depicting post-high-school life in a Latino barrio. If the movie were a real-life occurrence, one can imagine that the movie depicts how things would actually go. Outside of these things, there are simply no positive or redeeming elements in the movie.
The movie’s weakest and most damaging element is its intense occult worldview. The movie seems to glorify and glamorize the occult (as do its predecessors) even in its convincing portrayal of peril. Following suit with other occult-type movies, there are several scenes where a concerned grandmother attempts to pray over her possessed grandson, to no avail. In the movie’s gesture to the impotence of Christian prayer, he kills her in a fit of demonic rage.
THE MARKED ONES is replete with a sense of dread throughout. It’s especially damaging in its mixture of nudity and witchcraft, which includes the early scene involving two naked women painting occult symbols on their bodies. Also, evil seems all-powerful and good seems non-existent. Thus, demonic forces kill all of the main characters, and witches seem to prevail in the end.
The foul language in THE MARKED ONES is almost constant. The violence is jarring and realistic, and sometimes very strong and bloody. The concerned grandmother prays in Spanish to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for her possessed grandson, but her faith is portrayed as an impotent gesture. THE MARKED ONES also has few moral elements, outside of Hector and Marisol’s concern for their possessed friend.
THE MARKED ONES is a simple, formulaic horror movie. The dialogue and acting is poor. But, the movie’s weakest, most damaging element is its intense occult worldview. Evil seems all-powerful and good seems non-existent. Also, Christianity is seen as impotent. THE MARKED ONES also has abundant foul language, some extreme violence, lewd content, and explicit nudity. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES is abhorrent.