FFWD REW

Aliens: please abduct this film

Earth doesn’t need The Fourth Kind

On my way to the theatre to view The Fourth Kind I saw a man urinating on a bush beside the parking lot. What I saw next on the movie screen wasn’t much better.

The gimmick surrounding The Fourth Kind is that it contains supposedly “real footage” of something vaguely extraterrestrial supernatural or just spooky. The film begins with Milla Jovovich speaking directly to the audience explaining that she is actress Milla Jovovich and that she’s in a movie. Oh yeah she also says that the character she plays Dr. Abigail Tyler is totally a real person and that person is in the movie too as herself — that’s how real the upcoming real footage is. So like watch out ’cuz it’s totally scary ’n’ shit.

Then we see director Olatunde Osunsanmi (as himself) interviewing the “real” Abigail Tyler and if she’s a genuine psychologist as this film claims then she has no business practising psychology. She violates doctor-patient confidentiality by allowing footage of her sessions to be included in this film. In one tape a hypnotized patient becomes upset and kicks over a lamp. The next day she hypnotizes a different patient and he vomits. It does not occur to Dr. Tyler to stop hypnotizing people so her sessions keep getting worse.

The movie uses split-screen technique to show the “real” Dr. Tyler and the “Milla Jovovich” Dr. Tyler at the same time speaking dialogue simultaneously like a Greek Chorus allowing the audience to compare performances. As the film progresses Dr. Tyler comes to the conclusion that her patients have experienced alien abduction. This gives her a handy scapegoat when her own daughter goes missing.

The Fourth Kind is clearly trying for some kind of Blair Witch buzz by including grainy videotaped footage of supposedly real occurrences but even the gullible tin-foil-hat-wearing types will be disappointed because the “real” footage just shows a bunch of hypnotized people freaking out. No wait… there’s also “police footage” of a murder-suicide with the moments of violence obscured by pixilation so we don’t feel like we’re watching a snuff movie. If this scene is real (as the filmmakers heavily imply) its inclusion here is appalling. I wouldn’t worry too much about it — several researchers have already investigated this film’s claims and found no evidence of any truth to the story or of any psychologist named Abigail Tyler.

There are plenty of reasons to despise this film; for its insensitivity for its awkwardness for its contempt of the audience for its exploitive tone and for its overall glacial dullness. I kept hoping for a real UFO to shoot a beam through the ceiling of the theatre and take me away from this dreadful movie.

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