Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)
Interested in aliens? Enjoy speculation on the unknown? Have you found yourself asking if extraterrestrial life exists, and if so, has it interacted with us? Well, it is no galaxy far far away, but The Fourth Kind may be right up your alley. Some of you may question the categorization of this movie as “horror”, but I personally feel (at least after my first viewing of the film) that this film has the potential to shake even the most speculative to the core.
Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich in the dramatization, Charlotte Millard in the “real” footage ) is a psychologist that tells the story of her studies and personal experiences in Nome, Alaska during an interview with Chapman University. Mysterious disappearances and deaths (including that of Tyler’s husband) have been occurring in Nome. With the supervision of Dr. Abel Campos (Elias Koteas), a fellow psychologist from Anchorage, Tyler visits with several victims of sleep disturbances that she feels are related to the strange happenings in Nome. However, while working to unravel the mystery, Tyler is forced to cope with her own inner demons when she realizes that she may be dealing with powers beyond her understanding.
Similar to films like The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Fourth Kind uses “actual” footage and recordings to help better portray certain characters and occurrences. It also has an immersing effect on the audience and assists in convincing viewers that the events are true. I think this is extremely effective, especially because it is done in moderation (most of the film is a dramatization, the “real” footage only makes up a partial amount). I found myself actively considering the occurrences in the film much more than I would have had the entire movie been a dramatization. Also, the actors play very believable characters. Jovivich does an incredible job portraying Dr. Tyler as she transforms from a collected scientist into a madness ridden husk of her former self. In combination, the film has clear progression and the viewer isn’t ever left confused or wanting more.
What doesn’t work:
I did mention above that the inclusion of “actual” footage is a big plus for the film. That being said, there are a few sequences where multiple clips are simultaneously played next to multiple dramatizations. These scenes were a bit overwhelming as it feels like there is too much to focus on. I also mentioned that they assisted in convincing the audience. While it is effective overall during the viewing experience, the footage can be quite disturbing and intense to the point that it becomes almost ridiculous. Naturally, after the film I did a bit of research. It doesn’t take much effort to discover that the footage claimed to be actual documentation of events is in fact staged, and actors are used to portray the “real” characters. Aliases galore are also a huge red flag indicating that many of the “real” people are indeed fictitious. The result of all this is a huge detraction from the film’s initial scary factor. Suffice it to say, a large disappointment.
While this sci-fi horror surely is frightening and thought provoking, I personally feel that the misleading claims are a massive flaw. Rest assured, Jovovich and her supporting actors play excellent roles and I would recommend you watch The Fourth Kind once (any more and it really loses appeal) if you are a fan of anything related to close encounters or unexplained events. I wish I could give it a higher score, but unfortunately this film deserves the 6/10 I have given it.