Paranormal Activity Homes!

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Historically the 5th instalment in any horror franchise is a toughie. Scream and Texas Chainsaw Massacre never made it past 4. Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is as bad as it sounds. Halloween 5 whilst not terrible, is pretty much a rehash of Halloween 4 (and Halloween 1 and 2 for that matter) and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning sees Jason Vorhees take a breather as a different killer dons the hockey mask – with limited success.

What was clear for rookie director Christopher Landon is that Paranormal Activity 4 was a huge misstep in a previously consistent series and something had to radically change. Happily Landon moves away from the tried and tested formula (ghost story) albeit to a different tried and tested formula – possession. Whilst there were hints of this in previous entries in the franchise The Marked Ones marks the first occasion when possession is definitely at the forefront.

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Doing this is probably never a good idea…

This change in direction is a shot in the arm for the series but The Marked Ones is still a long film at 1 hour 41 minutes so the ending had to tie things together to make it all work. The Marked Ones tries to take the best bits of Afflicted, Grave Encounters and As Above, So Below but arguably isn’t as good as any of them. Vitally the ending does work though, leaving the viewer scratching their heads without becoming disengaged.

For a lot of people this will be just another dumb horror sequel, in the context of the horror movie world though Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones has to be considered a success.