Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' review: Witchcrap

*1/2 (out of four)

The ’80s light-up game “Simon Says” doesn’t normally answer yes-or-no questions. Still, you’re more likely to laugh than scream during “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” when Jesse (Andrew Jacobs), convinced that an evil spirit communicates with him through the game’s red and green buttons, screams, “Leave me alone, now!” It’s only slightly scarier than a Kerplunk tower throwing sticks at the players after someone shouts, “My grandma could hold those marbles!”

Considering “The Lego Movie” opens in February, expect “Kerplunk: The Tumbling” (starring Jason Statham) to arrive around 2016.

Not called “Paranormal Activity 5” for reasons not worth analyzing, “The Marked Ones” arrives after the series’ usual Halloween-ish release date in an assumed effort to distance it from the actually intense and horrifying “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years a Slave.” “The Marked Ones” is merely a drag. Yes, there’s a distant creaking noise followed by a closer bump, and characters occasionally ask, “Did you guys hear that?” After Jesse and his best pal, Hector (Jorge Diaz), witness their high school valedictorian acting bizarrely and appear to kill the rumored neighborhood witch, naturally they investigate her creepy cellar without contacting the authorities. They’re hoping to explain why Jesse suddenly has the power to lean on air, send attackers flying and, less significantly, inflate a mattress at maximum speed.

Long-time “Paranormal Activity” writer Christopher Landon takes over as director for “The Marked Ones,” and he wisely dispatches with the typical time stamps. (Who cares if an incident occurs at 2:43 a.m. or 3:17 a.m.?) However, he can’t create a good reason for the film to look like characters captured the video footage, meaning Hector shrieks and runs for his life and we’re still supposed to accept his determination to get all of the events in the frame.

“Paranormal” needed a change, but the point was to be better, not just mildly different. Now with the series batting one for five (respect to “PA3”) and the style unfunnily spoofed in both “A Haunted House” and “Scary Movie V,” these demons are due for retirement.  

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge
    Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge

    An argument over a woman led to one man being killed and another wounded during a shooting inside a South Loop music lounge early Saturday, police said.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.

Comments
Loading