Film Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

RELEASE DATE: 23rd January 2014
DIRECTOR: Christopher B. Landon
CAST: Andrew Jacobs, Richard Cabral, Gabrielle Walsh, Carlos Pratts
CLASSIFICATION: MA15+ (Strong Coarse Language and Supernatural Themes)

Review by Peter Gray

I’ve had a somewhat love/hate relationship with the ‘Paranormal Activty’ series since they began in 2007.  The original was quite a fun, and at times thrilling, experiment in the found footage genre whilst the third entry managed to inject a much needed horror boost into proceedings following a disappointing sequel.  2012’s ‘Paranormal Activity 4’, widely considered the worst of the series, was indeed a pathetic cash-in that added next to nothing to the overall arc, and certainly brought about a cautiousness regarding furthering films.

Whilst ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’ is far from a worthy film, as far as this series goes it’s actually quite decent.  Considered a “side-quel” (hence the reason it isn’t titled ‘Paranormal Activity 5’), ‘The Marked Ones’ seems to be targeting the Latino market with its primarily Spanish cast taking the focus away from the original family featured in the preceding films.  Teenager Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his buddy Arturo (Richard Cabral) are the protagonists this time with the celebration of Jesse’s high school graduation kicking events off.  Jesse appears to be a likeable enough guy, trying to live a life on the straight and narrow despite the gang-activities that plague his neighbourhood.  A lot of the initial scenes between Jesse and Arturo are surprisingly (intentionally) funny as they banter off each other, try to pick up girls, and dote on Jesse’s grandmother, even going so far as to down tequila shots with her in one of their more amusing moments.  Of course carrying a camera around for all of this makes no sense, especially towards the climax of the film, but where would these films be if logical thinking was a requirement?

Despite there being more laughs than one might expect in a found-footage horror film, ‘The Marked Ones’ does its best to scare its audience managing to avoid the recycled tactics of the series where people review a specific tape and simply ask “what’s that?”.  The bumps and moans that take place in the darkness are still used to varied effect but when Jesse’s inevitable possession kicks in, the movie almost turns into a horror movie version of ‘Chronicle’ as he starts to enjoy the “perks” of being haunted.  Initially enjoying bouts of super-strength, Jesse eventually starts to be taken over and it’s here the film is marked with a rather dark, violent touch, something relatively foreign to the series at this point.  The final scene, though not particularly inspiring or even that scary, at least has a great deal of energy behind it, something that seemed lacking in the previous films.

If you’re a fan of the series ‘The Marked Ones’ is very much a no-brainer as it’s a nice enough rebound from the horrid fourth entry, but if you’ve never given the films much thought there’s nothing here of worth to change your mind.  The unknown cast do better than one might expect, especially given the type of film they’re involved in, and there are some neat set pieces throughout but as the found footage gimmick continues to tire, ‘The Marked Ones’ doesn’t quite hold enough to restore faith in a series that seems to be dwindling in rapid succession.

My rating 2.5/5 (Gets marks for effort)

Boost for Gold Coast homeowners

THE Gold Coast property market continued its improving run with more than $22 million in local property sold at the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group’s The Event auctions.

More than 100 properties were showcased with 52 sold throughout the course of the day yesterday and prior to auction, reflecting a clearance rate of around 50 per cent.

In a sign of a continued strengthening of the local property market, many properties sold well over their reserve prices and involved multiple bidders.

The highest price paid was $1.405 million for a waterfront home in the blue chip Admiralty Drive at Paradise Waters (main photo). The property sold for “several hundred thousand” over the reserve price, according to RWSP Group CEO Andrew Bell.

“It has been an outstanding day and the positivity and excitement in the auction room set the scene for some great results which really exceeded our expectations,” said Mr Bell.

“Properties were selling well over reserve prices and there was a lot of bidding from multiple parties, which is a clear sign of a healthy marketplace.

He said the “results will give the market plenty of impetus over the coming months”.

“The bottom line is that the real estate market on the Gold Coast is offering some tremendous opportunities in what is undoubtedly a rising market.”

Mortgagee stock was markedly lower than in previous years, with just three properties on the order of sale in the hands of receivers.

There were 372 registered bidders, reflecting an average of more than three registered bidders per property.

Property sales ranged from $178,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the “Florida” apartments in Surfers Paradise to the Admiralty Drive home – a sprawling three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the prestigious Paradise Waters precinct.

Other key properties sold included:

North-east facing two-bedroom luxury apartment with ocean views in the Park Lane building at Main Beach (pictured below), hammered down on a bid of $720,000.

park lane

Highset three-bedroom home on a 1214sqm block in the TSS precinct at Southport with development potential, sold for $745,000.

Absolute beachfront two-bedroom apartment in the Breakers North building at Surfers Paradise (pictured below), sold for $710,000.

breakers north apartment

Large five-bedroom family home with pool in the hinterland suburb of Bonogin, sold for $570,000.

It is predicted that with a number of properties currently in negotiation, a clearance rate of 70 per cent will be achieved by week’s end.

The day’s outcome bodes well for the upcoming prestige auction on Thursday, where some of the Gold Coast’s most luxurious homes will go under the hammer at Palazzo Versace.

RWSP is Queensland’s largest full service agency achieving the highest volume of sales on the Gold Coast with divisions including prestige, project marketing, general residential, commercial and industrial.

Capper caught up in debt collector case

THE life of high-profile Gold Coaster Warwick Capper continues to raise eyebrows.

It’s been revealed, a debt collector who uses Mick Gatto’s name to intimidate people has been convicted after threatening the wife of Capper’s agent.

The Herald Sun reports, Gatto Corporate Solutions boss Anthony Swords has been ordered to undergo anger management counselling and do 150 hours of community service.

He told the Herald Sun: “Mick allows me to use his name. I seek advice from him.”

Swords was found guilty of criminal damage after confronting Jackie Dimauro about money her husband Fred allegedly owed to the former AFL great Capper and others.

Ms Dimauro claims some of the disputed money related to the sale of a sex tape starring Capper.

She said her husband used to be Capper’s manager and him and Capper came up with the idea of making money through Capper filming an explicit sex tape with his girlfriend.

Mr Dimauro recently confirmed he was involved in helping Capper make the tape, but denied he owed Capper any money over the X-rated deal.

Capper has told the Herald Sun he made the porn movie in 2007 because he was a sex symbol and “I think I am Australia’s answer to Paris Hilton”.

Ring-in Bell helps Clancy win second leg of Aust Beach Volleyball series

BEACH action wasn’t just reserved to those having an Australia Day holiday dip yesterday.

The final of the second leg of the Australian beach volleyball series was played out at Surfers Paradise, with two Queensland teams going head to head.

Phoebe Bell and Taliqua Clancy eventually beat sisters Jordan and Justine Mowen.

The wining duo managed to work together on the sand, despite only joining as partners at the last minute.

17-year-old Bell got a late call-up from Clancy after the withdrawal of regular partner and Olympian Louise Bawden.

But, she didn’t let the girls down, continuing their two year winning streak.

Unfortunately Bell will return to the sidelines, with Bawden to come back to partner Clancy for round three of the series at Scarborough Beach in Perth next weekend.

Man suffers head injury in jet ski accident at South Straddie

A Brisbane man is recovering in Gold Coast University Hospital, after coming off his jet ski in rough surf yesterday.

The 32-year-old was riding with a mate when he was launched off the water craft near South Stradbroke Island.

It’s believed he hit his head on the jet ski and was helped by surf life savers at the scene.

Once stabilised, he was transported to hospital by the RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter in a stable condition.