Not brilliant, not awful, but is that enough for dedicated fans?
It’s been a decidedly mixed period for the Paranormal Activity franchise; come critics have hailed The Marked Ones – the latest entry – as a new start for the series, while others have condemned the production values, asserting that a fresh start is exactly what it needs.
Molly Ephraim stars in The Marked Ones
The spin-off/sequel sees the young Californian Latin-American Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) designated for possession by the same demon who previously claimed Kristi and Katie. This new direction, while wholly welcomed by many fans and critics alike, hasn’t totally convinced everyone.
It “achieves a feeling of realistic socio-cultural milieu but suffers from an under-sketched narrative and a timidity born of parceled-out corporate profit protection,” according to Brent Simon at Screen International.
It “Scrapes the bottom of the franchise's barrel, begging found-footage audiences for a few extra dollars as it drives the final nail into the coffin of a series that should have died years ago,” according to Sean O’Connell or Cinemablend.com.
However, Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times thinks differently. “What comes next remains to be seen,” he writes, “but "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" feels like a fresh start.”
Chris Bumbray of JoBlo's Movie Emporium called it “One of the better entries in the series,” while Tara Brady – writing for The Irish Times – said: “As spin-offs go, this is closer to Frasier than it is to Baywatch Nights.”
All these mixed opinions have lead to a not-embarrassing but equally unimpressive 61% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. This means one thing: fans of the franchise might find some fun here, but newcomers might want to steer clear or forever be put off the Paranormal Activity brand.