Stepping Into the Unknown with The Marked Ones

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Daisy Magaña

El cuycuy and La Llorona are two fictional characters that many Latino children are familiar with growing up. A method parents used to keep their children well-behaved, “Te va llevar el cuycuy si no te portas bien!” Children dashed and jumped on their beds after turning the lights off to avoid getting swept under the bed by the infamous myth. The Paranormal Activity franchise took a different twist in the most recent installment of The Marked Ones opening the door to another world of mystique and energy.

The Marked Ones takes a deeper step into the paranormal world and explores elements associated within the Latino culture including brujería (witchcraft), curanderos (spiritual healers) and botanicas (stores that sell alternative medicine treatments and religious items often associated with Roman Catholicism). These cultural associations are not unique to Latinos but extend beyond ethnicity. Many other cultures have their own words for such paranormal behavior, superstitions and presence.

The audience will notice the style of this movie is different from the other Paranormal Activity films. It is a roller coaster ride taking you all over the Oxnard community from a high school setting and an apartment to a botanica and a dingy basement among other places. Jorge Diaz who plays the lively, goofy character of Hector is one of the all Latino cast–something that is rarely seen in Hollywood. “TV and film are constantly teaching us what social norms are,” said Diaz. “If we’re [Hispanics] constantly seeing ourselves as the servant, as the gardener, as a criminal suddenly it is saying….this is what is normal. Things are changing, and things will continue to change and this is another steps towards that.” The story is supported by Latino actors playing a wide range of characters, and the film even goes the extra to capture the authenticity of the storyline.

Although the movie has Latino culture embedded throughout the film, its Latino elements resonate with a diverse audience. “When you watch a movie, it’s about the characters. People understand family, they understand friendship,” said Diaz. “Human nature is universal.” The Marked Ones DVD is now available, and the bonus pack includes more than 20 minutes of extra features to go behind the scenes into the director’s mind to fully immerse oneself in the making of this film.

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