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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
86





Studio and Year: Paramount - 2014
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 84/100 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Carlos Pratts, Molly Ephraim
Written & Directed by: Christopher Landon
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 8, 2014
"Enter a world of black magic, superstition and possession…"


Film Synopsis:


PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES “breaks new ground and buries you screaming in it.”* The breakthrough horror franchise is back with “wicked and evil vengeance”* ... and it’s claimed a new victim. Seventeen-year-old Jesse has been hearing terrifying sounds coming from his neighbor’s apartment, but when he turns on his camera and sets out to uncover their source, he encounters an ancient evil that won’t rest until it’s claimed his very soul!


My Take:


I am admittedly a fan of the Paranormal Activity films with the original being the best effort of the first four. I find Paranormal Activity to be an effective horror film experience and enjoy its slowly evolving and escalating storyline. When I saw the trailer for Paranormal Activity: The marked ones it didn’t inspire me enough to warrant a trip to the Cineplex however I made sure to request it for review. This latest installment was written/directed by Christopher Landon who has had a hand in writing each of the previous films with this one serving as his first as director.


If you have seen any of the previous films than you pretty much have a feel for the setup, found footage style video and use of the elements of horror/suspense. Here the central storyline that revolved around the two sisters Katie and Kristi from the earlier films is replaced with new thread that follows young men who upon their 18th birthday are claimed by a (or THE) demonic entity after being marked upon conception via a ritual involving their pregnant mothers and members of the witch coven referenced in previous Paranormal Activity films.


Specifically, 17 (going on 18) year old Jesse who lives with his family in the upstairs apartment above Anna, a reclose who neighborhood legend tells it is a witch of some kind. The story is set up with character intros, with the primary focus being Jesse and his closest friends Hector and Marisol. After Anna is murdered by local teen Oscar (also 17 going on 18) Jesse and company armed with his brand new camcorder decide to conduct their own investigation which includes breaking into Anna’s old and creepy apartment in search of clues. What they discover hidden there are secrets, black magic and witchcraft directly tied to Jesse’s past.


Soon after Jesse begins to experience unusual occurrences, physical changes and a paranormal aurora that slowly begins to consume him and slowly erode away the fun loving and kind young man he once was. As things escalate out of control, Hector and Marisol attempt to intervene in order to save Jesse. Little do they know that Jesse’s fate no longer rests within their grasp or even his own but in an ancient evil and a promise made long ago.

Paranormal Activity: The marked ones was better than I was expecting but in truth spins the conceptual design while failing to provide any meaningful spark. The unfolding events move at a pace similar to installments 2, 3 and 4 as the unseen evil slowly makes its presence known. Once again we have a protagonist (s) initially unsure of what is happening and as things begin to escalate make futile attempts to make sense of it before succumbing etc. There is a twist in the final moments that adds a little flavor (especially for fans of the first film) to the storyline but there is no real basis for it which makes it seem oddly out of place. Things come to a boil in the finale (again as you might expect if you’ve seen the earlier films) with a fair amount of violence/suspense/frightening moments that are fun to watch.


I think a new direction was definitely in order as the repetitive nature of the earlier offerings became tiresome in a beating a dead horse sort of way. While we get differing characters here the narrative thread is still very much tied to the same construct and again we are left with unanswered questions more or less to the whys and wherefores. At the end of the day Paranormal Activity: The marked ones is a mildly entertaining companion to its predecessors, with the original film still reigning supreme. Both the theatrical cut and unrated version are included, the latter of which adds approximately 16 minutes of additional content which doesn’t deepen the story’s elements.




Parental Guide:


Both versions contain language and some violence/terror.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency effects:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

  • *Low frequency extension (non-rated element):


Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Paranormal Activity: The marked ones comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.2 Mbps.


Being a found footage “documentary” as seen through the eyes of a “video camera”, this film uses both hand held and stationary camera perspectives often switching back and forth. As such many times the video rarely resembles high definition/film although this is intentional and adheres to the thematic tone set by the filmmakers. Conversely there are a handful of shots that look very good and reveal discerning levels of detail and dimension. When appropriate colors are natural, contrast is well balanced and black levels are notable. Shadow detail is quite good as depth of field in the plethora of low level sequences is gratifying. I had no complaints with the stylized video quality which contributed to the source material.


The lossless audio presentation had no trouble conveying the predominantly front loaded elements present in the soundtrack recording. Dialogue reproduction was strong with clear intonation and fair room penetration. The mix did a nice job of handling the various directional cues associated with the hand held camera’s perspective and near field simulation. There is some off camera and atmosphere creating sounds mixed to various points in the sound field and the effect is seamlessly blended. Dynamic range, clarity and bass definition was excellent. Jump scares were palpable and jarring which served to elevate the level of anticipation quite nicely. I had spooky good time with it.


Bonus Features:

  • Theatrical and Unrated versions of Paranormal Activity: The marked ones

  • (HD) Found footage – 7 segments

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:


As a fan of the Paranormal Activity films I looked forward to checking out the fifth installment hoping that it would take things in a new direction. Unfortunately there is little contained in Paranormal Activity: The marked ones that differentiates it from its predecessors as the storyline continues in a noticeably similar vein. Regardless, I still found it entertaining enough to place it alongside the others in my video collection. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring satisfyingly good high definition video quality, excellent lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound, and a barebones supplemental offering. If you’re a fan and haven’t seen Paranormal Activity: The marked ones it’s worth checking out on Blu-ray.









Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal )

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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I don't know King P, gave up after the 3rd, just got bored with the same-o , same-o..didn't even care abouth the fourth, just feel like they are squeezing wallets on this franchise..l 'll think about it ...



Thanks King P, great review once again.
 

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EAGLEFAN67, this one is easily the most entertaining of all of them. It tries for different scare tactics though, too (and unfortunately kind of fails). I liked the ending as far as story progression, because they can literally go anywhere with it now if they want to.


For the record, the third one is my favorite. The fourth one is not only my least favorite, but as far as I can tell it has zero tie-ins to The Marked Ones. So I think you can be okay with skipping PA4 if you are interested in seeing this one.
 

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Thanks for this recommend, Ralph! Didn't even know there was a 5th one in the making! I too got bored and didn't see parts 3 or 4 but I kinda miss the first 2 (suckers for terror we are at home, at least my older son & daughter and I). Good to read from others pt 3 is worth it and I'm now interested in watching that one and "Marked Ones" (though maybe not pt 4)...
 

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This looked really silly to me in the trailers. I've seen all the others and liked them all. But this one has gangs in it? This series kinda seems to need a new direction so hopefully for me this will work. I will find out here soon enough!
 

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The thing with these films is that you HAVE to watch them on a good audio rig - one that has some low end capability. I'll never forget when I saw the third one...I had just moved into an apartment and (reluctantly) downgraded my subwoofer to a little Outlaw Audio M8. Compared to the monster SVS it replaced, it was almost laughable...so I didn't really expect much. Anyway, my lady friend was over watching it with me, so I got the sub up on top of the SubDude riser (amazingly effective product for us apartment dwellers), got it calibrated, and away we went. We were pretty involved in the film from the get-go, but then about a half hour into it, the sub went off and literally made me nearly soil the chair out of fear. And anyone who has ever watched a movie with me knows that typically I'm not all that evocative while I'm watching. This film used audio effects so expertly that my lady friend literally would not make the walk back down to her own apartment...lol


I know most of us are watching one some sort of a decent audio rig anyway, but if you're not, you're doing yourself an injustice...these movies are VERY effective when you let them the ability to impress.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa  /t/1525006/paranormal-activity-the-marked-ones-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review/0_20#post_24607779


The thing with these films is that you HAVE to watch them on a good audio rig - one that has some low end capability. I'll never forget when I saw the third one...I had just moved into an apartment and (reluctantly) downgraded my subwoofer to a little Outlaw Audio M8. Compared to the monster SVS it replaced, it was almost laughable...so I didn't really expect much. Anyway, my lady friend was over watching it with me, so I got the sub up on top of the SubDude riser (amazingly effective product for us apartment dwellers), got it calibrated, and away we went. We were pretty involved in the film from the get-go, but then about a half hour into it, the sub went off and literally made me nearly soil the chair out of fear. And anyone who has ever watched a movie with me knows that typically I'm not all that evocative while I'm watching. This film used audio effects so expertly that my lady friend literally would not make the walk back down to her own apartment...lol


I know most of us are watching one some sort of a decent audio rig anyway, but if you're not, you're doing yourself an injustice...these movies are VERY effective when you let them the ability to impress.


Greetings,


Great story AJ...




Regards,
 
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