The Fourth Kind
Wed, Nov 4, 2009 (5:10 p.m.)
Purporting to be based on actual case studies and recordings, the alien-abduction thriller The Fourth Kind is almost certainly a bunch of hooey. First-time writer-director Olatunde Osunsanmi goes out of his way to convince the audience that his movie is drawn from real life; star Milla Jovovich opens the movie by directly addressing the camera, explain that she’ll be portraying psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler, who in 2000 uncovered supposed evidence of widespread alien abductions in Nome, Alaska, and was the victim of alien abduction herself. We’re then shown the “real” Dr. Tyler, being interviewed by Osunsanmi and narrating the story as we watch it unfold.
This device doesn’t make things seem more real; if anything, it puts an immediate distance between the audience and the characters, as we’re constantly being reminded that the narrative bits are merely “dramatization,” and Osunsanmi uses frequent split-screens to play that dramatization alongside the “real” footage, with copious expository voice-over. The dramatizations are predictable and about on the level of a subpar X-Files episode, with Jovovich’s Dr. Tyler butting heads with both Angry Local Sheriff (Patton) and Skeptical But Supportive Colleague (Koteas) over the true nature of what’s happening.
The other Dr. Tyler appears no less fictional, with a long, gaunt, pale face and wide eyes that make her look like an alien herself. Were this movie actually what it says it is, it’d be a reprehensible piece of exploitation; instead it’s just another lame thriller with a few cheap scares.