'Paranormal Activity; The Marked Ones': Attack Of The Killer Simon Machine

Just How Scary Is 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'?

Until late on Thursday evening -- during the formation of what at least was billed as a blizzard here in New York City -- I had never seen a “Paranormal Activity” movie. I was told that the latest entry, “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” would not require knowledge of the previous films because it was a brand-new story with a brand-new cast. (In fact, even though “The Marked Ones” is technically the fifth movie in the "Paranormal Activity" franchise, a movie titled “Paranormal Activity 5” is set for release this October.) As such, I decided to mark the occasion of seeing my first “Paranormal Activity” movie by keeping a running diary of the evening. Here's how that went.

7:05 p.m. Upon check-in at the screening, I’m offered a “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” poster. After the last week of apartment cleaning, I might have been a little too aggressive with the audible level of my voice when I said, “no.”

7:20 p.m. Either someone in the theater has a ringtone that mimics the sound of R2-D2 or R2-D2 is actually at this screening.

7:22 p.m. I wonder if R2-D2 is the Marked One?

7:30 p.m. People around me are sharing stories of their favorite moments from the first four movies. An oscillating fan and Teddy Ruxpin are both mentioned. I have no idea what anyone is talking about.

7:40 p.m. This movie was supposed to start at 7:30 p.m. More like “Paranormal Activity: The Late Ones,” am I right? (I’m sorry.)

7:41 p.m. The movie opens with a graduating high school class. From a distance, the student speaking looks a little bit like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

7:43 p.m. Maybe he is the Marked One because he faintly resembles Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Perhaps his friends have nicknamed him Looper.

7:45 p.m. So, one of the students, Hector, has decided to use the camera that was filming the graduation ceremony to just film everything. In a, “My cell phone is just too cumbersome, I’d like to instead carry this video camera around,” kind of way.

7:47 p.m. I wonder if I will ever make it home because of the snow.

7:47 p.m. I wonder if I am the Marked One.

7:53 p.m. A grisly murder happens in an apartment below where one of the characters, Jesse, lives with his grandmother. Of course it’s a good idea to later break into that apartment after the police officers leave.

7:54 p.m. Of course once you have broken into the apartment where the murder just happened, it’s a good idea to hide, then jump out to scare your friends.

7:58 p.m. Two people just walked into the movie almost 20 minutes late. I bet the twist is that they are the Marked Ones.

7:59 p.m. Hector drew a penis on Jesse’s face. Jesse is the Marked One.

8:01 p.m. If nothing else, the cast is charming.

8:03 p.m. There is a possessed Simon game.

8:04 p.m. A Simon machine possessed by a demon is about as scary as it sounds.

8:04 p.m. A possessed Simon game is only slightly more frightening than a possessed Math & Spell.

8:04 p.m. I wish I owned a possessed Simon.

8:06 p.m. People who are Marked Ones develop superpowers, apparently.

8:08 p.m. The possessed Simon is back. It is defeated by removing the batteries. We now know that the demon isn’t quite as strong as two “D” batteries.

8:09 p.m. Everyone is at a party now. This movie has officially become a cross between “Project X” (the found footage party movie; not the Matthew Broderick chimpanzee movie) and “Chronicle.”

8:11 p.m. Yes, it is a great idea to sneak back into the apartment where the murder happened so that you can have sex with the girl you just met at the party. I’m sure nothing scary will happen.

8:14 p.m. Oh puh-leeze.

8:15 p.m. There was some minor nudity and someone in the crowd just yelled, “holy shit!”

8:15 p.m. We are all the Marked Ones.

8:18 p.m. This movie is all jump scares.

8:23 p.m. Honestly, I scare really easily and I don’t find this movie scary.

8:30 p.m. Granted, it may be the lousy weather conditions, but this is a very quiet crowd for a horror movie.

8:38 p.m. There are like four instances where, after something terrible has happened, the characters discuss calling the police, yet never do.

8:43 p.m. I wish the main villain was the possessed Simon machine.

8:45 p.m. At times, watching this footage is like watching someone play a game on Sega CD.

8:47 p.m. A character just pulled out an assault rifle and the entire audience erupted in applause.

8:47 p.m. I think I’m ready to go home.

8:57 p.m. There is a twist at the end that fans of the other movies all seemed to enjoy. I will take their words for it.

8:59 p.m. I think I will buy a Simon game tonight.

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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