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Fourth Kind

A movie directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

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Alien Abduction: Fact Or Fiction....Real Case Studies Or Marketing Gimmick?

  • Nov 8, 2009
Rating:
+3
 Hollywood has stooped to the ‘authentic” gimmick that uses the suggestion of truth to make the audience feel involved in the film. Movies such as “White Noise”, “Blair Witch Project” and the more recent “Paranormal Activity” had their successes through the suggestion of an actual event. There is just nothing more strong than the power of suggestion, writer director Olatunde Osunsami’s “The Fourth Kind” actually takes a more aggressive route in directly challenging its audience to make a decision whether or not this story is true. The film incorporates supposed "actual archival footage" while having scenes re-enacted from the original documentary footage.

The film begins with an introduction from actress Milla Jovovich stating what we are about to see is real, challenging the viewer whether or not to believe what they are about to see. The fact is there have been a lot of disappearances in Nome but the investigations by the Anchorage Daily News found no specific events to back up the claims of the film. What we do know is the fact that there are a lot of unsolved disappearances and unsolved deaths in and around the town of Nome, Alaska. Authorities have placed the blame on the frequent disappearances because of alcoholism and its remote location. It is also questionable whether Abigail Tyler is a real person or not (since the film states that they changed the names of some of the persons involved) and findings does say that she isn’t real.

        Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."

                              Elias Koteas as Dr. Campos and Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."
 
The film suggests the idea that Olantunde Osunsami has assembled footage about the mysterious case studies of psychiatrist Abigail Tyler, who had become a witness to alien visitation through her patients. What began as a study on sleep disorder becomes something more frightening. The documented alien possessions and strange activities come in the form of video footage, the film fills in the gaps through dramatic recreations (or so it suggests) with Jovovich as Abigail Tyler. Mixing together the so-called “real” footage and the dramatization scenes. The film seeks to make a thorough portrait of the actual Nome incidents that places its questions on the viewer to decide what is real and what is not.
 
I had to look into the film’s background before I wrote this review, and yes, the movie is a fictional tale and relies on the powers of suggestion to immerse the viewer into its premise. Fact sheets were handed out to viewers on screenings that state that the writer heard of an Abigail Tyler and the disappearances in Nome through a friend. Tyler had recorded footage that depicts terrifying scenes and the director uses them side by side with the re-enactments that features Jovovich and Will Patton. It read that during fall of 2000, sleep studies were conducted that showed extra normal activities to the therapist. The film is a sensory one, and I remained open-minded to the suggestion that it may be real but I do know that the movie was fun and rather scary on some key scenes. I guess I should just focus on the film itself rather than trying to deliberate whether the movie is in fact based on real truth or not. 

        Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."   
  
                                        Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."
 
“The Fourth Kind” may be a hoax or maybe it isn’t…what is true and what isn’t? This is the question that the filmmakers have to depend on to get its viewers invested in the film. Well, it is fictional but it is a fictional tale based on truth; I have seen other documentaries that explored alien abduction and a film based on a real event (Fire in the Sky). It may feel like a blatant stunt to pull off something like this, but the film does have several unnerving scenes and the way it suggests that some of the actual footages may be true does get the movie moving. The screenplay plays its cards right to give the film a noticeable distinctiveness, and the film is a clever attempt at originality. I somewhat wondered what it wanted to express at the 3-3:30 a.m. angle since most of the supposed 'invasion' happens during this time; is the movie also trying to channel a demonic possession? What of the audio footage..."I am God"?
 
The film is eager to play cerebral mind games with its viewer as it manages to sell the torment of psychiatrist Abigail Tyler as a woman devastated by the events in her life. Scientists have found no irrefutable evidence to the existence of extra-terrestrial life or are they just being covered up? I remain skeptical which probably why the movie was effective for me. Osunsami even follows some established scales of measurement in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. On this scale it states the first kind is “sighting”, the second kind is “evidence”, the third kind is “contact” and the fourth kind is “abduction”. 

           A scene from the film "The Fourth Kind."

                             Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."
 
The direction does feel a little overwhelmed with the manner that it juggles the so-called ‘actual footages’ with the re-enactments at times. I felt a little bit of disconnection with some of the ‘shaky’ camera movements and some scenes didn‘t exactly feel like the movie was actually occurring in Alaska. The film does have some very scary scenes of audio footages, video footages and the use of the ancient Sumerian language did send some chills down my neck. Of course, following the theories of alien presence, the actual footages gets fuzzy just before the scene’s conclusion, leaving it up to the viewer to fill in the dots with the dramatization. There are several scenes of pure atmosphere but some of the suspense brought into the film is hampered by some of the performances we see onscreen. Will Patton was just so discordant as the town’s sheriff. The film does emulate a small feeling of dread, the scenes with the supposed ’real’ Abigail Tyler was interestingly well-conceived and the fact that  she isn't as pretty as Jovovich  gives her a feeling of someone more accessible and believable as someone 'real'. Milla Jovovich was good in the alternate role of Tyler, this is a different Milla from the one we’ve seen in “Resident Evil” films; this is Milla in a dramatic role, no kicks and no snazzy action scenes. Elias Koteas is the character who was skeptical and still is despite what he has seen, I guess the direction wanted to pitch in a clever device that the viewer may connect with. For a gimmick such as this to succeed, the performances need to feel authentic.
 
So is “The Fourth Kind” a hoax or not? Well, I went into the movie with no knowledge about the film's production, and it is fairly convincing; it is clever enough to capitalize on the power of suggestion.  Maybe it is real and maybe it isn’t; but one thing I know for sure is that the film’s marketing gimmick just goes straight on to ask the audience to try and buy into the story. I would go so far as to say that the film’s marketing gimmick is indeed a hoax; as for the film itself, it may indeed be a hoax but it is the manner by which it executes the scenes that gives the viewer the sensation of fear. I guess it all matters on what you think or believe; myself I’ve seen enough documentaries on TV to say that the possibilities of alien existence may be endless. Fact One: that there have been a very large number of disappearances and homicide in Nome, Alaska. FBI says that it is because of alcoholism and the harsh landscape is responsible. Fact Two: There has been sleep studies conducted in that area. Mumbo-jumbo or not, the film does provoke some thought, and provides a feeling of scary fun. The film can disturb on some levels especially if you're the kind who believes in Alien Abduction...
 
Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]

         Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abigail Tyler in "The Fourth Kind."

 
Based On Actual Case Studies Or Pure Marketing Gimmick? Based On Actual Case Studies Or Pure Marketing Gimmick? Based On Actual Case Studies Or Pure Marketing Gimmick? Based On Actual Case Studies Or Pure Marketing Gimmick?

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April 14, 2011
I thought the marking behind this film was brilliant.
April 14, 2011
I agree.
 
November 14, 2009
Awesome review! Saw this last night. The side-by-side reenactments were really strange/interesting. I couldn't get over how scary the "real" Dr. Tyler looked. She was like breathing, talking corpse!
November 14, 2009
I know what you mean. Milla's look didn't match the real doctor Tyler's which is probably why the film was effective; hoax or not. Those supposed real footages were really freaky!
November 14, 2009
So freaky. I actually had to hide under my coat during the Dr. Tyler hypnotism scene. And the first time that patient levitated...so crazy! It's too bad the "real" footage was so unclear during those scenes.
November 14, 2009
I've seen several docos about aliens. They do mess up the electro-magnetic fields which is why footages of them get so fuzzy. The footage of the ship over the Tyler home looked very real. I do believe that aliens are real and abductions are highly possible. What'd you think of the audio footages in the end credits as reported by authorities?
 
November 09, 2009
Looks gimmicky, however, for some reason I'll watch anything with Milla in it. Maybe the aliens reprogrammed my brain so that I find her to be irresistible.
November 09, 2009
I watch anything with Milla on it! I guess there are some subtle suggestions made into my brain. LOL
November 09, 2009
Well, if you start picking up feedback when you're near TVs or if you begin to think that men in black suits are following you, then it may be more than that... LMAO!
 
November 08, 2009
Fantastic review, William! You actually brought up some really interesting elements that I had been wondering about. I've heard that the flick crosses over into a few other genres (dealing with bodily possession and what have you) rather than focusing purely on physical abduction (like Fire in the Sky & Communion). In all though it does sound fairly interesting. I'm a big fan of scientific horror. Great job!
November 09, 2009
Thanks, bud. This was good, frightening on several scenes. The only reason why I kept it from getting a cool, solid 4 stars is because of the way it marketed the end product. It may be theoretical and everything, but I thought the marketing gimmick cheapened the movie itself. This would have survived without the gimmick. But I wonder, maybe everything is being covered up?...makes one wonder.
 
1
More The Fourth Kind reviews
review by . March 25, 2011
What does it mean to be a believer? The Fourth Kind poses the question, "do you believe in abduction theories". Many of the people that I sat in a theater for the running time of 1 hour and 38 minutes would most likely say no they were not believers. Some may hesitate before answering, and maybe a few would be willing to actually entertain the idea for a few minutes before shaking their heads in disbelief. Truthfully I'm not going to say that I am a believer, but I don't know if …
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2011
A few good ideas and some interesting SFX are squandered on this waste, bogged down by inept direction, embarrassing overacting and a framing narrative that's clumsily and irresponsibly presented as a genuine documentary.
review by . August 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I saw this DVD during the daytime, and thought it was one of the scariest movies I've seen in a long while. Created as a recreation of actual events, this "docudrama" is about a psychologist's examination of victims of alien abductions in her home town of Gnome, Alaska. These abductions are known as the Fourth Kind of alien contact. The psychologist puts her patients under hypnosis during which time they relive their abduction with scary detail. There are few special effects as most of the horror …
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Lame lame lame attempt at an alien abduction version of Paranormal Activity.
review by . January 31, 2010
Could not have been any sillier
Being stationed in Korea, there isn't very much to do, especially if you're under 21. Hell, over here you can't even go off base unless your 21, so yeah, nothing to do but watch movies. Fortunately there is a theater on base, sure it shows movies that have been out forever (Avatar, 2012, etc) but occasionally it shows a movie that I haven't seen, like The Fourth Kind. I remember when I went to see Paranormal Activities that I thought these two films were one and the same. They were marketed in much …
Quick Tip by . November 14, 2009
I loved this movie- it freaked me and F out since they paired real footage side by side with the actors. It was more of a reenactment...
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William ()
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Wiki

The Fourth Kind is a science fiction-thriller film directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, and starring Milla Jovovich. The film is purported to be a documentary reenactment set in Nome, Alaska, and deals with alien abductions. The title is derived from Jacques Vallee's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the fourth kind denotes an alien abduction.

The film is supposedly based on actual events, and is set in Nome, Alaska, a town which (according to the movie) has a disproportionate number of reported missing people and alleged alien abductions over the last forty years. Milla Jovovich plays psychotherapist Dr Abigail Tyler, who is allegedly based on a real psychologist who videotapes interviews with the abductees. The abductees all claim they see a strange looking owl at their window, before suffering strange psychological attacks. Recordings from videotapes reveal a distorted voice speaking in Sumerian, the oldest recorded language in Human history, and Tyler begins to suspect a government cover up.

This is the first major film by writer and director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who is a protégé of independent film director Joe Carnahan. The movie claims to be a re-enactment of original documentary footage. It also claims to use "never-before-seen archival footage" that is integrated into the film. The film was shot in Bulgaria, and the lush, mountainous setting of Nome as it appears in the trailer bears little resemblance to the actual ...

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Details

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Release Date: 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Maple Pictures (March 16, 2010)
Runtime: 1hr 38min
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