If you're like me, you were underwhelmed and disappointed by Paranormal Activity 4 (2012). It failed not only to meaningfully add to the ongoing plot of the series but also to deliver on its many opportunities for suspense and scares. While Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) and Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) shed more light on the nature of the haunting and found new and creative ways to implement the found-footage format, 4 fell short across the board. Thankfully Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones picks up the series in a big way. Note that this is not Paranormal Activity 5 (which is slated for October 2014) but a spin-off entry in the series. The connection to previous entries, however, is very strong.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows a new set of characters and explores the fate of the "marked" first sons (those dedicated to demon[s]) when they reach the age of 18. A combination of the new characters, plot revelations, and connections with the previous films make this entry fresh and enjoyable. The acting is pretty good, especially as far as this series is concerned. A couple new camera-related and other ideas help sustain the delivery of the found-footage format, if only just barely. What I really liked is that The Marked Ones takes more chances in what it reveals in the unfolding plot line, which at this point in the series is a very good thing. I felt like it could have taken better advantage of the suspense it built at times, but it still had its scares and creepy moments. As per usual, the ending is abrupt, but the inherent promise of future explanation is at an all time high.
It's unclear how long the Paranormal Activity series will continue or if there is a master plan connecting everything we've seen thus far in a satisfying, conclusive way, but for now it seems that these movies are just good enough to keep seeing. Once again with the big screen, loud sound, and dark environment, these movies excel in theaters, naturally, where the money is made.