Throw a GoPro camera out and you’re bound to hit a teaser trailer for Paramount’s upcoming spinoff Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which is in its go-for-broke promotional campaign. Above we have one of the latest clips, which further solidifies that filmmakers should have to go through a strict, multi-step process in order to get approval to make a found-footage film, with questions such as, "Are your characters smarter than the cameras they insist on holding?" and "Why don’t you make a different film? Please, for the love of Pazuzu, make a different film!"
In the clip, the "marked" Jesse (Andrew Davis) is busy pulling something out of his eye socket, which happens to be a piece of string or thread or something. (There’s a reason why people don’t usually use thread as a movie prop, as it’s nearly impossible to see.) Anyway, there’s nothing scary about this clip in the least, especially not the lights going on and off, so let’s move on to the next one and see if it gets any better.
It didn’t. What often works against these pre-release clips of found footage films is audiences aren’t always fully aware yet of what flimsy excuse the characters have for keeping the camera on at all times. It was always obvious within the context of the P.A. franchise itself, which has largely kept its action within one or two locations, but The Marked Ones is branching out into the world, making the constant filming a tad more ludicrous.
Case in point: Jesse hears his dog Chubble (possibly Trouble, Truffle, Tubble, etc.) fighting some unseen thing in the basement of this house that’s being renovated. Ideally, Jesse should either forget about the camera for a second to potentially save the life of a living creature, or he should let doggie bygones be bygones and hightail it out of there. Instead, he takes his time pondering what to do, and when he does indeed go down the stairs, we see a hooded being standing in the doorway. It barely qualifies as a jump scare, since audiences almost have to be expecting it, and nothing about this clip makes me want to find out what happens next. I kind of hope the dog kills Jesse, but I doubt that’ll happen.
Sure, I’ll end up watching this flick at some point, because my life doesn’t have meaning without constant horror, but I’m losing my faith that this will be better than the brick-dumb Paranormal Activity 4. Is anyone out there really pumped about The Marked Ones, which hits theaters on January 3? Let us know in the comments, or just appear in a doorway behind me and let me know. Here’s the full trailer.