I won’t lie: Back in September when I watched the trailer for The Fourth Kind (and posted it for Trailer Tuesday), my man parts shrunk and I had to do the All-Bran 10 Day Challenge just to cleanse myself from the measure of scariness the short preview walloped on my psyche.
Frankly, I was a little perplexed, because I generally find the whole aliens and alien abduction conversation completely and unequivocally ridiculous. I’m sure my alien atheism probably will piss off anyone wearing a SETI t-shirt, but my core beliefs tell me there are no little green men roaming the netherregions of the universe, frothing at the mouth to use their scientific sex toys.
The Fourth Kind asserts, along with actress Milla Jovovich (who portrays Dr. Abigail Tyler) and director Olatunde Osunsanmi, the 98 minute movie is based on actual events that took place in Nome, Alaska back in 2000. They claim the grainy camcorder footage and the scratchy audio recordings are authentic and the Hollywood notables, namely Jovovich (A Perfect Getaway), Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Will Patton (Remember the Titans), are simply stand-ins for dramatic recreations.
I’m not entirely sure why the aliens in The Fourth Kind would pick Nome, Alaska as their preferred probing grounds. With a population of 9,261, when somebody disappears, everybody knows. I’d have picked Las Vegas or China, but that’s just me. Nevertheless, people are going missing in Dr. Abigail Tyler’s city and others are coming to her for counseling for apparent sleep disorders. It seems many folks in Nome wake up at 3AM every night and all of them report seeing a white owl staring at them through their bedroom window.
Tyler, whose husband was murdered during his research of the same subject, decides to hypnotize her patients so she can delve deeper into their memories and subconscious. This is when the crap hits the fan. It seems the owl isn’t really an owl, but a long-faced, bug-eyed, Peeping Tom alien, and the recollection of its stalking, even sometimes entering the bedroom and taking them away, stirs one man into murder-suicide and another man into paralysis. To make matters worse, Tyler’s colleague, Abel Campos (Koteas) thinks she’s loony, the town sheriff (Patton) holds her responsible for the chaos, and it’s more than plausible, at least to Tyler, the same interstellar travelers have visited and abducted her.
The Fourth Kind is a flawed film. The acting is spotty, particularly Jovovich, who is melodramatic and just too damn pretty to be taken seriously, and the pacing is questionable, with many segments feeling stagnant and confusing. Still, I have to give props to Osunsanmi for his attempt at originality, creativity and ingenuity, especially in the current Tinsletown climate of remakes and sequels. His movie is disturbing and unsettling, especially the hypnosis videos and the audio recordings of creatures speaking Sumerian, but there really isn’t any worthwhile glue holding those terrifying sinews together. I enjoyed The Fourth Kind, but I just can’t recommend you pony up the cash for a full-price ticket.