The Fourth Kind (2009) Movie Review
Written By: SN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Producers: Terry Robins, Joe Carnahan, Paul Brooks
Writers: Olatunde Osunsanmi, Terry Lee Robbins
Date Released: November 6, 2009
Milla Jovovich as Abbey Tyler
Will Patton as Sheriff August
Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Awolowa Odusami
Elias Koteas as Abel Campos
Rating = 1.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
After a string of disappearances since the 1960s, the small town of Nome, Alaska is shaken by the claims of psychologist, Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich), having found evidence that aliens may be responsible for these unsolved cases. After the mysterious death of her husband, she decides to continue her practice of hypnotism on insomniac patients in order to recall lost memories. After observing a pattern involving a white owl and having two patients have violent breakdowns during & after hypnosis, Dr. Tyler has reason to believe that there is something beyond human capabilities responsible for these strange happenings. When the local police are alerted by her practice and the danger it poses to her patients, authorities step in and put her on house arrest. That is, until she claims that her own daughter was abducted by aliens and decides to go to wherever the aliens are on her own.
As expected from any other alien movie, the gore present in this pseudo-documentary is pretty much nonexistent. Focusing more on convincing the viewers that what happened in Nome was real with archived footage, the film was not blood-heavy except for a split-second during one of her hypnosis sessions where they show how Dr. Tyler seeing her husband getting stabbed to death.
The Grave Review
After the huge success of other pseudo-documentary horror films like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project, it seems like the alien territory would be a sure shot. And that’s probably what Osunsanmi was aiming for. However, The Fourth Kind is unfortunately became a member of the hit-and-miss club.
The film opens with a monologue from Jovovich informing the audience that what they are about to see are a combination of archived and dramatized footage of the happenings in Nome circa 2000. She also gives them the fair warning they deserve that some of the footage is disturbing and ends it with her parting words: “In the end, what you believe is yours to decide”.
Despite this clear disclaimer, Osunsanmi was persistent in showing archived and dramatized footage simultaneously just to prove that what they produced is 100% accurate. This may have looked good when they were writing the screenplay but is much less so when translated on the big screen. As an audience, it came off as the production trying too hard to convince that they were not putting out some form of over dramatization of events. However, it also seemed like a curveball from the real question: is the footage real?
For parts where an interaction with a non-human form came to contact with people, the shots were conveniently distorted until it was over. There were also some parts showing the real Dr. Tyler being interviewed by writer and director, Olatunde Osunsanmi – and even this attempt of being “genuine” came off as staged, especially when she was claiming that she herself was abducted.
However, after some internet sleuthing, it turns out that the basis of the film was already debunked by Anchorage Daily News, saying that the string of disappearances were in fact investigated by the FBI and were concluded to have been attributed to “alcohol and the cruel Alaska winter”. It seems like life imitates art in this “he said she said” every alien film is based on.
Despite the never-ending debate about whether aliens are real or not, one thing in this film is believable – the ensemble’s acting. Being a veteran in the horror genre, Jovovich played the helpless woman quite well and Will Patton did a convincing job of playing the skeptic Sheriff August. As for the storyline, it’s as simple and stereotypical as it can get with alien movies – strange happenings in a small town, someone saw something, police doesn’t believe them, and people don’t know who to believe. Truly, the only thing that could separate this film from other alien movies is that it features seemingly “true” archived footage as well.
Because of the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Fourth Kind (2009) one and a half graves out of five graves.
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