Cameras are on and recording every creepy moment. That is the simple premise upon which this series of six films are based upon. An evil presence terrorizes home owners or anyone with the names Katie or Kristi.
Here are a sampling of reviews of the films:
Paranormal Activity 2 directed by Tod Williams:
Really?? I did not see the first one, but c’mon. This was not scary in the least. I was looking forward to a good old scare after hearing that the first one was creepy and ended up totally disappointed.
In Carlsberg, California Daniel (The Unborn, The Express) and Katie (Katie Featherstone – Paranormal Activity) bring their newborn baby boy to their new home. Unbeknownst to them a demonic presence is in their house. Soon their perfect world becomes a nightmare.
Shortly after Katie and Ali (Molly Ephraim – College Road Trip) suspect something out of the ordinary is happening, but Daniel doesn’t believe them. After what he thinks is simply a robbery happens, Daniel installs security cameras. The horrifying events that happen to the entire family are captured on the cameras for you the viewer to watch.
Camera work that is all hand held is sooooo 1999. I’m done with it. That in itself is not scary. This film had a decent budget and still the special effects are pretty low grade. You never get to see the demons, so that scare effect is gone. And they don’t even milk the fact that you don’t see them. There were a few innocent things that happened then all of a sudden – BOOM – we were into the heavy stuff with no build up. That did not allow any feelings of fear build up in me at all. I was just thrust into it and it felt like a total letdown to me.
Paranormal Activity 3 directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman:
Why? Why? I did not see the original, but I have now seen 2 and 3 and the only thing I can say is Why? Why? Why was this film made? Obviously for the pure reason of cashing in on the success of the first film. I like scary films. I like to be scared. Until the last couple of minutes of this one there would not have been even a blip on a heart rate monitor attached to me. Yawn!
We track back to the origins of the first film with number three. It is back in the late 80s when the adult sisters, Katie (Chloe Csengery – from television’s Up All Night) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) were only children. An attempt at the reason for their lifelong haunting is offered. Their stepfather Dennis (Christopher Nicolas Smith – Little Children), who works as a wedding videographer, talks his wife Julie (Lauren Bittner – Bride Wars, The Mighty Macs) into making a tape of them having sex. Instead of the usual his camera seems to catch a glimpse of an unknown entity. Believing there is something going on in the house, Dennis sets up cameras to record. Things start getting weirder and the two young sisters are involved in the goings on.
So I sat patiently through minutes upon minutes of boring footage believing that they were slowly trying to build up tension, but pffft, like the air going out of a balloon the film ended up just being flat. I was never tense and really until the very last scene not really scared or grossed out.
Then when it finally came down to the payoff scenes at the end it became ridiculous. Plus it left plenty of questions unanswered…oh yeah, that is because Joost and Schulman are not finished with their money grab as I heard that Paranormal Activity 4 was already in the works. Boo!
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones directed by Christopher Landon:
Certain things are extremely rare to find in this life. White peacocks. Purple carrots. Shakespeares’signaure. A Honus Wagner mint condition rookie card. A Phantom Corsair. You get the picture, right? I would like to add one thing to this list and my addition would be a good horror film. These are rarer than albino humpback whales. Plenty are made, but rare is the one that would make my list. I do have a list. It would include such classics as Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, The Evil Dead, and The Birds. They do exist though they don’t come along very often. The last good horror films that I saw were The Cabin in the Woods (2012) and The Conjuring (2013). I keep going back to the well and keep coming back disappointed and thirsty.
When The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999 and was such a huge, unexpected hit it spawned a series of mockumentary and found footage films. Even big film directors like J.J. Abrams began making Hollywood films using this style in his films Super 8 and Cloverfield. Soon there was a whole sub category of this style in horror. In 2009 a low-budget (it cost approximately $15,000 to make) film called Paranormal Activity was released. When it was a huge hit grossing over $100 million in the United States alone you had to know that a film series was born.
The series was based on found footage shot with handheld, shaky cameras making the inherent tension in the stories about hauntings and paranormal entities that only can be seen by certain people even that much more creepy. Soon every year a new Paranormal Activity would come out meaning that enough people went to see it to keep producers sinking money into making them. Finally in early 2014 the fifth installment was released called Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.
The one was written and directed by Christopher Landon, a guy who had written and produced several of the previous Paranormal Activity films. This one has a slightly different premise in that it is not really entity haunting a house or people rather it is more a possession story. Jesse (Andrew Jacobs – first film) is seventeen years old and just graduated from high school in a California. He and his friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) begin filming themselves doing silly stunts and things. Soon they begin filming everything they do. After a party and a night of wack behaviour Jesse wakes up with a bite mark on his arm. Though he wonders how it happened Jesse does not think anything of it.
When Jesse and Hector are attacked by thugs shortly afterwards Jesse shows incredible strength in fending them off. The two tell their friend Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) what happened and Jesse begins to realize that he can do a bunch of crazy things.
When a neighbour who lives nearby in the same apartment complex is killed and their classmate Oscar (Carols Pratts) is the main suspect, Jesse and Hector decide to investigate. Inside the victim’s apartment they find a notebook filled with magic rituals and a picture of Jesse. After some other weird things happen Jesse finally catches up with Oscar, who tells him weird things began to happen to him after being bitten on the arm by Anna. Everything seems too much for Oscar and he commits suicide by jumping off a building.
Now Jesse begins acting strangely. He seems to not be in control of his actions. Hector and Marisol decide that they need help and so they turn to Ali Rey (Molly Ephraim), a woman who tells them about a coven that possesses in order to create an army. Time is of the essence or they will lose their friend forever.
The series has struck out in a new director and while for the most part it is not successful there are still some scary moments within the film. They still use darkness and suggestion to create tension in the viewer rather than blood and guts. Though I do have to admit that the whole found footage thing is wearing a little thin with me. The effort is there, but in the end it just ends up being a sub-par horror film. The search for good horror continues.
Special features include:
- Found footage
- Teaser trailer
- Lost Tapes
- Digital Copy
- Alternate Ending