- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Universal
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
n the wake of the success of “Paranormal Activity,” moviegoers are going to take one look at director Olatunde Osunsami’s “The Fourth Kind” and laugh, because it might just be the most ridiculous movie made in years. It takes real nerve to open a film by parading your lead actress in front of the audience to declare that what they’re about to see is based on real events, but Osunsami does just that, and comes off looking like a fool in the process. Though his attempt at creating the ultimate hoax seems to have convinced some people that it’s real, “The Fourth Kind” is nothing but a bunch of fabricated lies – and boring ones at that. By integrating “actual video and audio” in an effort to prove his claim, he creates a movie that is so obviously fake that the trick is ruined before it even begins.
Billed as a dramatic reenactment of events that took place in Nome, Alaska in 2000, Milla Jovovich plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychiatrist conducting a sleep disorder study involving patients who exhibit behaviors of alien encounters when placed under hypnosis. Though none of the patients can accurately describe what they see in their visions, they all recall seeing a white owl outside their window just before an unknown assailant enters their home. When one of her patients goes postal and kills himself and his family following a session, the town sheriff (Will Patton) believes she may be responsible. But after Dr. Tyler experiences her own close encounter, she digs deeper to uncover a long history of bizarre activity in the region.
Along with the dramatic reenactment of these events, Osunsami also includes split-screen footage from actual sessions, audio proof of nonhumans speaking in ancient Sumerian, and an interview that he personally conducted with the “real” Dr. Abigail Tyler in 2002. (Curiously, the fact sheet that the studio is passing out at screenings states that Osunsami didn’t learn about the events until 2004.) If you’re going to try and pass off bogus footage as real, at least do a good job of making sure all your lies are straight. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the interview couldn’t have occurred under those circumstances, and if that’s fake, then the footage is most certainly phony as well. After all, do you really think that if there was photographic evidence of someone floating in the air, we wouldn’t already know about it? Osunsami suggests it’s an FBI cover-up, so why would they let someone make a movie about it?
My biggest issue with “The Fourth Kind” isn’t that it pretends the footage is real (both “Paranormal Activity” and “The Blair Witch Project” have employed that tactic with varying results), but rather that it insists it really happened. There’s a fine line between faking the truth to create fiction and passing it off as fact, and Osunsami is so desperate to convince the audience that what they’re seeing is real that he destroys any chance of the film working as a regular movie. The concept itself is pretty unnerving, and the fake footage is probably the most impressive part about the entire film, but between the cheesy reenactment and the lame marketing spin, “The Fourth Kind” is more likely to elicit laughter than the suspense it promised in the opening monologue.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
There’s not a whole lot to love about the Blu-ray release of “The Fourth Kind.” The only extras on the disc are some deleted and extended scenes, and even those are pretty lame. Then again, if you've seen the film, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.