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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED  ONES-United States-100 Mins. (Unrated) 2014

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Andrew Jacobs as Jesse in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

Andrew Jacobs as Jesse in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Jorge Diaz as Hector in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Jorge Diaz as Hector in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Gabrielle Walsh as Marisol in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Gabrielle Walsh as Marisol in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Directed and Written by Christopher Landon

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones takes a left turn in that it features characters and situations not normally associated with the series. The story is the same-that of possession and witchcraft and the first-born-and characters from previous films make appearances here; however, aside from Molly Ephraim as Ali Rey, they’ve been relegated to cameo status for this one. I enjoyed the film and felt that, despite it not being an official sequel, gave the story a much needed shot in the arm.

The film focuses on Jesse, a newly graduated Hispanic teen living with his father and grandmother in an apartment complex in Oxnard. Popular belief is that his neighbor, Anna, is a witch. After she is murdered, Jesse and his friends find a book of spells and incantations in her apartment. They perform one of the spells and throughout the rest of the film Jesse exhibits strange and increasingly more disturbing behavior. He falls backward off of a chair and never hits the ground. He is attacked by thugs and hurls them off without touching them. Then there’s the Simon memory game that gives him ‘green for yes, red for no’ answers (A red light for “Are you good?” a green light for “Do you want something?”) Things go from bad to worse, we discover the connection between Jesse and Katie and Kristi and in a final ‘what were they smoking when they came up with this?’ moment we are taken back to the end of Paranormal Activity, albeit from an entirely different point of view. End film, roll credits.

Yes, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a welcome shot in the arm for the series as I mentioned before. However, I can’t help but ask if there is a necessity for a fifth film in the series, as it has been announced that there will be? My answer meter leans toward ‘no’. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones would have worked just as well outside of the Paranormal Activity universe and could have easily been its own film with minor changes to the narrative. Ultimately the film begs this paraphrase taken from the Mexican bandits in Blazing Saddles: “Movies? We don’ need no more stinking Paranormal Activity movies!”

TRIVIA

The Marked Ones has the lowest box office opening weekend of the franchise.

Takes place four years after the events of Paranormal Activity (2007).

Katie Featherston is the only actress to appear in all five PA movies.

Features cameos from previous franchise actors Micah SloatMolly EphraimChloe CsengeryJessica Tyler Brown, and Hallie Foote.

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Andrew Jacobs also appears in the TV series Major Crimes.

Jorge Diaz also appears in Filly Brown and Budz House.

Gabrielle Walsh also appears in the short film Kleptosomnia.

 

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CHILD’S PLAY 2

CHILD’S PLAY 2-United States-84 Mins. 1990

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Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay in Child's Play 2

Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay in Child’s Play 2

Jenny Agutter as Joanne Simpson in Child's Play 2

Jenny Agutter as Joanne Simpson in Child’s Play 2

Gerrit Graham as Phil Simpson in Child's Play 2

Gerrit Graham as Phil Simpson in Child’s Play 2

Christine Elise as Kyle in Child's Play 2

Christine Elise as Kyle in Child’s Play 2

Grace Zabriskie as Grace Poole in Child's Play 2

Grace Zabriskie as Grace Poole in Child’s Play 2

Directed by John Lafia

Written by Don Mancini

Based on Characters created by Don Mancini

What do I remember the most about Child’s Play 2? The answer to that question would have to be that stupid trailer. You know; the one where Chucky steps on the Jack-in the-Box and says “Sorry Jack, Chucky’s back!” Why do I remember it so well?  It’s because I had a friend of mine who had a kid who repeated that line over and over. The problem with that is that the little ankle biter had a speech impediment so that made it come out more like “Sorry Dack, Thucky’s back!” I think the kid grew up to be Justin Bieber or some other famous twerp.

Anyway, what was I talking about in the first place? Oh yeah, Child’s Play 2. You can sum the production of this film up to the excellent box office that the first film achieved. The plot of Child’s Play 2 is so threadbare that I still have trouble comprehending how the filmmakers managed to stretch it out to 84 minutes. It’s two years after the first film and Andy Barclay, the kid who Chucky the murderous My Buddy-err-Good Guy Doll wants to transfer his human soul into, is sent to live with foster parents while his mom spends time in a psych ward for backing up his story about a killer doll. Naturally, Chucky finds Andy, kills the foster parents and then takes off with the kid for a grand finale at the toy factory that mass produces the Good Guy dolls in the first place. In between all this are several scenes of Andy being blamed for trouble that Chucky causes and having no one who will believe him. There is just not enough of a plot for this film to justify an 84 minute run-time. Do you think they might be accounting for the lackadaisical performances from each and every one of the cast members; with the exception of Brad Dourif in his reprisal of Chucky?

Is there any part of Child’s Play 2 that even remotely looks as if the filmmakers were trying to make a scary movie? I don’t think that there is. It seems like all I have done for this entire review is ask and then answer my own questions. For my closing sentence let me ask one more question about Child’s Play 2: is it as good as Child’s Play? Answer: not even close.

TRIVIA

According to commentary by writer Don Mancini on the DVD of the first film, the reason the rest of the “Child’s Play” films are released by Universal instead of MGM/UA (despite the first film being highly successful for them), was that United Artists was about to be bought out by a company that wanted to abstain to a “family friendly” slate of films. The property was then gladly sold to Universal. Ironically, Qintex, the company that made the bid to purchase United Artists, dropped the deal not long after the film set up shop somewhere else.

The only film in the series where entirely Chucky doesn’t use a real gun as a weapon (although he does use a squirt-gun as a decoy).

In the later seasons of Seinfeld (1989) (in which Grace Zabriskie plays “Mrs. Ross,” after playing “Grace Poole” in this film), a copy of Child’s Play 2 can be spotted on the shelf in Jerry’s apartment where he keeps his VHS tapes.

Kevin Yagher ended up directing several scenes featuring Chucky when the puppets proved problematic to work with.

Adam Wylie’s first film role.

Christine Elise’s film debut.

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Alex Vincent also appears in My Family Treasure and Dead Country.

Jenny Agutter also appears in Logan’s Run and An American Werewolf in London.

Gerrit Graham also appears in Phantom of the Paradise and Demon Seed.

Christine Elise also appears in Body Snatchers and Boiling Point.

Grace Zabriskie also appears in Wild at Heart and The Grudge.

Brad Dourif also appears in Dune and Halloween (2007).

 
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