Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: "The Fourth Kind"

The title of "The Fourth Kind" refers to a scale established to measure human contact with extra-terrestrials. The first kind is observation, and the second is physical evidence. The third kind is actual contact -- as in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" -- and the fourth is when humans are abducted.

Yes, it's one of those kinds of movies.

"The Fourth Kind" is written and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, and claims to be based on real events that happened in remote Nome, Alaska, in October of 2000. In fact, star Milla Jovovich introduces herself at the beginning and says that she'll be playing Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychologist investigating the strange phenomena plaguing the townsfolk.

Taking things several steps further, there is voluminous video footage of the real Abigail Tyler, audio recordings of police interviews, etc. Osunsanmi frequently cuts back and forth between the shaky archival footage and the recreation with actors, and sometimes even plays them side-by-side in split screens.

It's all a hoax, though.

How do I know? Start with the fact that the woman who supposedly is Abigail Tyler is shown being interviewed on a television show hosted by ... Olatunde Osunsanmi.

But beyond that, if actual video and sound recordings like this were authentic, you wouldn't need to pay Milla Jovovich and a bunch of other actors millions of dollars to make pretend, because the real stuff would stand up on its own.

I wouldn't mind having the blanket pulled over our eyes if "The Fourth Kind" were any kind of a good movie. But it's a dreadful bore.

Tyler is haunted by the recent death of her husband, who was (she believes) stabbed to death in their bed. Her agitation is amplified by several of her patients all having the same delusion about a white owl watching them at night.

The troubling visions grow violent while Tyler has them hypnotized and ...
Oh, wait, didn't I tell you? In addition to alien abductions, the movie also uses hypnosis as a major plot device.

About the only cliché the film doesn't employ is waking up and finding it was all a dream. Or, more accurately, a nightmare, and one inflicted on the audience.

1.5 stars

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