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FYI: 'The Marked Ones' Isn't 'Paranormal Activity 5'

Movie Talk
October 17, 2013

The "Activity" is expanding as Paramount has just revealed the rather striking — and potentially bewildering — trailer for the new "Paranormal Activity" movie.

Note that we said "the new 'Paranormal Activity' movie" and not "Paranormal Activity 5."

Confused? Don't be. "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is the first of two "Paranormal Activity" movies that will be haunting theaters in 2014. "The Marked Ones" is the long in-development 'Latino spinoff' of "Paranormal Activity," which was teased in last year's "Paranormal Activity 4" and officially announced shortly after that film's release.

"The Marked Ones" is out the gate first, opening in theaters in January 2014. "Paranormal Activity 5" will hit theaters in October next year.

Watch 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' Trailer:

You wouldn't know that "The Marked Ones" is a part of the "Paranormal Activity" universe from the first 20 or so seconds of the trailer, which plays more like a companion piece to "End of Watch" than a found-footage horror flick. The story takes place in Oxnard, California, a radical departure from the quiet suburban settings of the first four "Paranormal Activity" films. It brings a brand new (and much welcome) vibe and energy to what many have felt is (was?) a franchise that was running out of steam.

"It's clear that audiences were growing bit tired of the 'Paranormal Activity' franchise, so a spin-off is the logical next step," says BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino. "It's too soon — even by Hollywood's standards — to reboot the franchise," he adds. 

"Going after Latino moviegoers is an incredibly smart business decision," says Contrino. "It's a strategy that will become much more common over the next several years."

In the trailer, things take a turn into more familiar mythology when our heroes enter a darkened room filled with boxes of VHS tapes (perhaps a wink-wink to the "V/H/S" series), one of which is labeled 'Katie and Kristi,' the poor sisters whose unfortunate story we've been following since the first "Paranormal Activity" hit theaters in 2009. Soon, we're once again finding photographs in places where they shouldn't be, characters are discovering mysterious bite marks on their bodies and people are being tossed about by some unseen force.

[Related: Movie theater accidentally screens ‘Paranormal Activity 4′ instead of ‘Madagascar 3′]

"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is written and directed by longtime series writer Christopher Landon, who looks to be cranking the action up to 11 (another element perhaps inspired by the frantic, often bats--t crazy "V/H/S" shorts). It looks like just the thing to get audiences excited about the franchise again before we continue with Katie and Kristi's main storyline next Halloween.

And it might end up being its own series unto itself — a title card promises us "This is only the beginning."

"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" opens January 3, 2014, followed by "Paranormal Activity 5" on October 24, 2014.