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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Andrew Jacobs stars in a scene from the movie "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones."
In crafting "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" (Paramount), writer-director Christopher Landon maintains the admirable tradition of minimal bloodletting that has characterized this spooky franchise since its 2007 debut. But he also ratchets up the adult content with a steady flow of vulgarities and a scene of occult rites performed without clothing.

Perhaps the tough talk is meant to be in keeping with a shift in venue from the suburban setting of the previous films to a working-class Latino section of Oxnard, Calif. There, recent high school grad Jessie (Andrew Jacobs) has a series of unsettling experiences that his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) documents using a handheld camera.

The pals suspect the strange goings-on are connected to the murder of Anna (Gloria Sandoval), a mysterious neighbor in Jessie's apartment complex who was rumored to be a witch.

The black-arts back story is just there for window dressing. More troubling is the combination of Catholic prayer and Santeria practices to which Jessie's grandmother (Renee Victor) eventually resorts to try to rid him of his supernatural woes. Along with the elements cited above, this potentially confusing admixture of scriptural faith and barely disguised polytheism prevents endorsement for young or impressionable moviegoers.

In fact, with the found-footage conceit underlying all the "Paranormal Activity" pictures beginning to feel threadbare, even those few mature horror fans who make up the appropriate audience for this fifth outing in the series may find it less rewarding than its predecessors.

The film contains some violence with brief gore, a suicide, full nudity, nongraphic nonmarital sexual activity, drug use, a couple of instances of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language and a few sexual jokes, one involving an obscene image. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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John of Capistrano: It has been said the Christian saints are the world’s greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ’s redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events. 
<p>Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times. </p><p>John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later. </p><p>His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. </p><p>The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John’s tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance. </p><p>He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement. </p><p>When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.</p> American Catholic Blog When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other’s hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great

 
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