Releases on Friday, January 3rd
by The Last Angry Chicana, Dyana Ortelli
When my friend and cast member Silvia Curiel invited me to a special screening of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, I hesitated. “A horror flick?” I said. “Yo no veo esas cosas.” And then I paused. “Wait. Is this the movie with all the Latinos in it? I asked. “Okay. I’ll go with you, but I may walk out after 20 minutes. I don’t like scary movies.”
And then something happened at the screening at Paramount Studios…..
Right before my eyes, I see two Latino boys, the leads, Jesse and Hector (played by Andrew Jacobs and Jorge Diaz) speaking perfect American English — on the big screen!! And they’re not gang-bangers or drug-dealers or junkies or gardeners or “illegals” or hit men or inmates or janitors. They’re just normal, decent, All-American high-school boys who happen to be Latino — and they’re good looking, and charming and charismatic and funny! In fact, one of them, Jorge Diaz, is just plain adorable. And then we’re introduced to grandma — abuelita! Only this Mexican grandma is sassy, and sexy and spunky, and she speaks English AND Spanish, just like most of us American Latinos do, and she’s played effortlessly and delightfully by the one-and-only, Ms. Renee Victor (Weeds). “OH EM GEE”, I thought to myself. “I’m actually liking this!”
And then it just got better and better. There’s a neighborhood party scene (the story takes place in Oxnard, CA) that felt so authentic and real I wanted to be there eating arroz con frijoles with everyone. I’m sitting in the theater
thinking, “What genius thought of hiring REAL Latinos to play Latinos? Was Ben Affleck not available? Was Marisa Tomei on vacation? Wuz happenin’ here?”
I could hardly contain my excitement with what came next. Abuelita goes to the neighborhood santeria shop to try and find a cure for Jesse, who’s afflicted with mysterious bites and exhibiting strange behavior. And there she was — surrounded by veladoras and images of La Muerte and calaveras, asking for advice on doing “a limpia”, a “cleansing.” And the santeria shop looked just like a shop I recently happened to run into in the Silverlake area in L.A. — the type of shop where Latinos buy their veladoras of La Virgen de Guadalupe and their religious statues, santitos, incense and “polvos legitimos”. And then, OH EM GEE!
This has got to be one of my favorite movie scenes ever! Abuelita totally goes there….and performs a curacion CON EL HUEVO!! I mean…. hello? el huevo?? A HUEVO!! (an egg!!) Can it get more authentically Mexican than this? This may be the one scene Meryl Streep could have never pulled off, ’cause you gotta be Latina to know how to do this shit!! And the wonderful Ms. Renee Victor pulled it off beautifully and authentically.
It was one revelation, one magical surprise after another. “Who are these Latino actors? Where did they find them?”
I kept asking myself. They’re so likeable that you immediately get invested in them and what happens to them. The Latina girls are beautiful, and strong actresses as well. The cinematography, direction and art design are outstanding. And the story, by Paranormal franchise writer/director Christopher Landon, had enough suspense and mystery and intrigue, without gore or excessive violence, to keep me in my seat for the entire duration of the movie. I reiterate: I NEVER watch “scary movies” and this one kept me glued to my seat!
On a scale of One to Cinco OH EM GEE’s, I give Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones ”cinco”, 5 OH EM GEE’s! In fact, I liked it so much, I’m throwing in A BARRIO PASS as well!
Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones opens on January 4th in the U.S., Mexico and Canada! But it is being released internationally in Belgium, France, UK, Ireland, Argentina, Germany, Denmark, Malaysia, Netherlands, Serbia, Singapore, Albania, Sweden, Taiwan, Vietnam, Chile, Brazil, Finland, Turkey,Australia, Poland, Italy and New Zealand, on different dates in January 2014. Yes! A major studio motion picture with an all-Latino cast speaking English will be seen globally.
DON’T MISS IT! Let’s keep making history and buy tickets and continue to show Hollywood that Latinos rule the box office!
Kudos to Paramount Studios for the Equal Opportunity Possession and for their Smart Vision.
The trailer has about 6 million hits!!! WATCH IT RIGHT HERE!
Written & Directed by Christopher B. Landon
Produced by: Jason Blum, Oren Peli
Cast: Andre Jacobs, Jorge Dias, Richard Cabral, Carlos Pratts, Eddie J. Fernandez, David Fernandez Jr., Rene Victor, Kimberlly Ables Jindra
Studio/Distributor: Paramount Pictures