Less a straight sequel and more a thematic companion piece (albeit one crammed with callbacks to the first four Paranormal flicks), The Marked Ones sees this now-venerable found-footage franchise looking to crack the ever-growing Hispanic market. Set in California, it’s the tale of high-schoolers Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), whose postgraduation summer of drinking, toking and filming everything in sight is rudely interrupted by spooky goings-on in the apartment downstairs. It’s not long before Jesse begins exhibiting strange behavior, forcing Hector to conclude that his friend has been “marked” by the local witch.
As ever with this series, the shocks are cheap but effective, and the shaky-cam aesthetic adds an unsettling layer of realism (if you’re willing to overlook the innate ridiculousness of the film-everything concept). But the plot is a confusing, derivative mishmash of half-baked supernatural clichés, and the total absence of characterization makes it hard to care what happens.