Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

  • Review Date: January 3, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Plenty of violence in fifth installment of horror series.
  • Review Date: January 3, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

Age

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The portrait of the Latino community is a welcome addition to the movie series, andmany of the main characters are generally well meaning, but ultimately, this is a horror movie without many redeeming messages.

Positive role models
Characters represent an interesting cross-section of mostly Latino folks, ranging from young to old, bad to good. There's one caring, giving grandmother character, but otherwise, the main characters are simply curious teens who get into trouble and the other characters range from gangsters to other shady, spooky types.
Violence
In one scene, heavy artillery -- shotguns, etc. -- are pulled and a couple of witches are "blown away," though no blood is shown. There's an attempted mugging, and some punching and fighting. A character commits suicide by jumping from a height; his body lands on a car and smashes it up. Another body is thrown through a glass skylight and lands on the floor. A character tries to choke another character, while a third bashes the attacker with a baseball bat. A woman is shown at the bottom of some stairs, with her head smashed and a pool of blood underneath. There's a car crash. A severed cow head is shown as part of a witches' ritual pentagram. A dog appears to be tormented in one scene. Otherwise, there's some creepy, ghostly imagery.
Sex
Some full-frontal female nudity. Characters spy on a neighbor through an air vent, and a fully-naked woman is seen standing motionless. Another woman is shown from behind in the same scene. In one scene, the main character attempts to have sex with a young woman. She takes off her top and shows her bra. She asks him to get a condom, but their sexual activity is interrupted. A character draws a penis on a sleeping friend's face. Otherwise, there's some brief innuendo and sexual suggestion.
Language
"F--k" and "s--t" are used almost constantly throughout. Occasionally, "p---y," "dick," "t-ts," "bitch," and "boner" are used.
Consumerism
A "Simon" electronic logic game is used as part of the plot.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Teens are shown smoking pot in one scene. They are also seen with ready access to alcohol, though they are rarely shown drinking. There's some very brief drinking at a party. A teen gives alcohol to his grandmother, and teens are seen with beer bottles sitting on a table.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fifth in the successful, found-footage horror series. Violence includes only a little blood, but characters fire guns and we see some dead bodies, plus some fighting, a car crash, a tormented dog, and some scary, ghostly images. Some full-frontal female nudity is shown, and a sex act nearly happens, but is interrupted. Language is very strong, with near-constant use of "f--k" and "s--t." Teens smoke pot, there's some very brief drinking, and alcohol seems readily available in this world. After the drop in quality and enthusiasm after Paranormal Activity 4, it's not likely that teens will hold a sustained interested in this sequel.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) is a normal, happy kid in Oxnard, California. He gives a speech at his high school graduation, and his family and friends, Hector (Jorge Diaz) -- who films everything -- and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh), throw him a party at their apartment complex. Soon the friends become curious about the strange noises coming from their neighbor Anna's apartment. When it appears that a schoolmate has killed Anna, they begin poking around the apartment, finding curious articles of witchcraft. Soon after, Jesse begins to exhibit strange behavior. At first he seems to have superpowers, but before long he becomes withdrawn and even violent. Can Hector and Marisol solve the mystery of Jesse's behavior before it's too late?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
A writer on the series since Paranormal Activity 2, Christopher Landon directed this fifth entry. His best innovation is to set the entire story within a vivid Latino community, complete with young people, old people, good people, and bad people. It's a refreshing angle, and for a while, before the supernatural stuff starts, the movie is fairly compelling. But unfortunately, as it goes on and turns more horrific, it also turns exceedingly stale.
 
There are some small cameos and references to the earlier films, but the major problem is that, unlike parts 1-3, there's absolutely no reason for characters to continue filming while all this stuff is happening. Moreover, while the witches seem to have power to do almost anything, they just can't stop the camera. Aside from that, the scares are overly familiar, properly-timed jumps and shocks borrowed from the earlier films and other "found footage" movies. Fans of this series or horror films in general won't find much to scream about here.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Was it gruesome or overdone? Is it used for suspense, or for shock? Was the movie scary? What is the appeal of horror movies like this one?
  • Was the movie's sex and sexual innuendo gratuitous, or did it seem healthy? Are the characters too young?
  • How did you feel about teens having access to pot and alcohol throughout the movie? Did the consequences for drug and alcohol use seem realistic?

  •  
  •  

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 3, 2014
DVD release date:April 8, 2014
Cast:Andrew Jacobs, Gabrielle Walsh, Jorge Diaz
Director:Christopher Landon
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Horror
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive language, some violence, graphic nudity and some drug use

This review of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah January 7, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

It's okay, and I think that they know that that's as far as it can go.

When I first heard of this, I was naturally apprehensive. The trailers looked generic, the acting looked awful, and its delayed October-to-January release date pretty much solidified my cynicism. However, this is fine. The new characters and relocation are a nice breath of fresh air and the acting is fine since everyone's just playing a regular person. The humor works well; I actually found myself laughing a decent amount since it has a naturalistic charm about the whole thing. It's 84 minutes long but doesn't necessarily feel too short or like it's trying to reach a feature-length running time. The story does its job and is reasonably interesting, particularly the ending and how it ties in with the rest of the franchise. The biggest issue, however, is that the humor works but it's not scary, really at all, and when it appears to try, it relies on clichés. There's one jump scare that works but that's it. However, I don't really think that it's even trying to be scary anymore. I think they know that this series is a yearly tradition for its core audience so its style and mythology makes it somewhat endearing for annual casual viewings. This is a tepid and modest achievement: nothing quite new, but with enough entertainment value to be respectable. For a January 3 release, this is far past a tepid achievement. 6.7/10, fine, one thumb up, average (or above average given its genre and release date), etc.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written bykenwi January 8, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

WHY WERE AUDIENCES DISAPPOINTING?!

That's because it seems that it might be boring... but it might be fine.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byHorrorlover1213 January 10, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Disappointing Activity

I was very disappointed because I love the whole PA series. It seems like they just through in female nudity and innuendo which made it just stupid. Seriously was not scary. I mean I'm fine with some uplifting moments so the audience can take a little break from the scariness, but there were too many moments like that. I was trying to figure if this was really a horror or drama!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass