Combustible Celluloid
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With: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Renee Victor
Written by: Christopher Landon
Directed by: Christopher Landon
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some violence, graphic nudity and some drug use
Running Time: 84
Date: 01/09/2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Witch Bored

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A writer on the series since Paranormal Activity 2, Christopher Landon directed this fifth entry. His best brainstorm is to set the entire story within a vivid Latino community, complete with young people, old people, good people, and bad people. It's a refreshing angle, and for a while, before the supernatural stuff starts, the movie is fairly compelling. But unfortunately, as it goes on and turns more horrific, it also turns exceedingly stale.

Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) is a normal, happy kid in Oxnard, California. He gives a speech at his high school graduation, and his family and friends, Hector (Jorge Diaz) -- who films everything -- and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh), throw him a party at their apartment complex. Soon the friends become curious about the strange noises coming from their neighbor Anna's apartment. When it appears that a schoolmate of theirs has killed Anna, they begin poking around the apartment, finding curious articles of witchcraft. Soon after, Jesse begins to exhibit strange behavior. At first he seems to have superpowers, but before long he becomes withdrawn and even violent. Can Hector and Marisol solve the mystery of Jesse's behavior before it's too late?

There are some small cameos and references to the earlier films, but the major problem is that, unlike parts 1-3, there's absolutely no reason for characters to continue filming while all this stuff is happening. Moreover, while the witches seem to have power to do almost anything, they just can't stop the camera. Aside from that, the scares are overly familiar, properly-timed jumps and shocks borrowed from the earlier films and other "found footage" movies. Fans of this series or horror films in general won't find much to scream about here.

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