Review 27: The Fourth Kind (0/5)

The Fourth Kind

Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Starring Milla Jovovich, Charlotte Milchard, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Released on November 6, 2009

Running time: 1h 38m

Rated PG-13

Genre: Horror, Sci-fi

In 2005, FBI homicide detectives visited the city of Nome, Alaska, to investigate the disappearance of 24 people that had gone missing between the 1960s and 2004. Locals believed that there might have been a serial killer involved. The missing people were mostly native Alaskans who had traveled to Nome. The FBI, determining that there was insufficient evidence to back the serial killer claim, told the press that “excessive alcohol consumption and a harsh winter climate” had caused the disappearances.

According to a 2004 article in the Los Angeles Times, Alaska has 3,323 people that are legally missing, higher than anywhere else in the USA. Considering that Alaska has almost 40 mountain ranges, roughly 3,000 rivers, about 5,000 glaciers, and well over 3 million lakes, and that Nome is a seaside community only accessible by air or water, it is no surprise that the number of missing people is as high as it is; there are many ways for people to get lost and never be found.

Wanna hear how Olatunde Osunsanmi decided to cash in on these tragic events?

One word: ALIENS.

Mr. Osunsanmi made his (one, and to this day, only) film, The Fourth Kind, around this theory.

For those of you who don’t know, a Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind, or CE4, is part of the extension to the J. Allen Hynek scale of close encounters.

  • CE1: A sighting of a UFO less than 500 feet away. The person who sees the UFO is able to see actual detail of it.
  • CE2: A UFO leaves evidence that it has been there. For example, electronic interference, crop circles, chemical traces.
  • CE3: Someone observes one or more Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (EBEs) with or without a UFO, or experiences some sort of intelligent communication
  • CE4: Someone is abducted by a UFO or its EBE occupants, or experiences hallucinations or dreams associated with UFO encounters
  • CE5: Direct, conscious, voluntary, proactive communication between EBEs and humans.
  • CE6: Death of a terrestrial life form as a result of a UFO sighting. This could possibly be an extension of a CE2.
  • CE7: Creation of a human/EBE hybrid by sexual reproduction or by scientific methods.

The film is named after a CE4.

Tinfoil hats at the ready! Here we go!

The film begins with an out-of-focus shot that reveals Milla Jovovich directly addressing the audience. She will be playing Dr. Abigail Tyler in an alleged dramatization of actual events, which will be backed up by archival footage from Abby’s experiences during the first ten days of October of 2000 and footage from Abby’s interview with Mr. Osunsanmi. All names of important characters will be changed to protect their identities. She warns us that the footage we are about to see is very disturbing. Considering that The Fourth Kind is a PG-13 horror film and that the MPAA rated The Conjuring R only because it was “too scary”, I doubt that the footage will be even close to disturbing. Jovovich leaves us with the line “What you believe is yours to decide.” Though I believe in aliens, I’m pretty sure that The Fourth Kind is gonna be a friggin hoax.

Milla Jovovich isn’t a bad actress. Hell, she would be a pretty good voice actress, seeing as she can act with her voice, but not her face or body. I have complained about the expression that Jovovich wears in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Trust me when I say that I don’t think I should bring up that…thing. Oh, and Jovovich is easily put to shame by the actress in the archive Archive Abby.

Explained in a hypnotherapy session (ooh! A therapist in therapy!): in August of 2000, Abby’s husband Will is murdered one night as the two have – GUESS WHAT? – a pointless sex scene! Remember this – it will be important later.

This murder leaves Abby to take care of her children Ronnie and Ashley. Ronnie in particular acts like a total craphead.

Right off the bat, there is a problem. The archival footage is, 99% of the time, playing alongside the dramatization with our actors. This gets old quick, especially when we see up to four sets of footage playing at the same time. Another thing: the archive and movie footage are separated by a black bar which, for some reason, moves from side to side. What was the point of that?

Oh, and whenever Archive Abby says the name of someone important, the audio is blanked out and we see the subtitle read (NAME OMITTED). OOOOOOOOOOH!

I also immediately noticed that the mountainous community looks nothing like Nome. The reason for that is this: most of The Fourth Kind was shot in Bulgaria. Trust me when I say that the citizens of Nome would not be too happy when they learn what this movie being shot in their community is about.

I also immediately noticed that the camera shakes. Just enough to be noticeable. I know that The Fourth Kind had a low budget, but tripods are not expensive!

Another thing: I am not a hypnotherapist. But I am 100% sure that hypnotherapy is more complex than simple countdowns.

Abby is working on three patients that have strikingly similar stories to tell: every night, at 3:33 AM, they see a white owl staring at them through their windows. Apparently, these patients have been seeing this owl since childhood. Oh really?

Abby puts one patient named Tommy (Corey Johnson) into hypnosis. Strange, because he is addressed as Tommy in the archive footage, when the name Tommy was supposed to be an alias. Tommy recalls a particularly troubling memory: The owl acts as a herald of horrible things to come, as creatures enter his home. Abby is forced to terminate the session after Tommy becomes violently distressed. That night, Abby is called by Tommy’s wife, who tells her that Tommy is going crazy and is trying to kill them (Abby somehow wakes up before the phone rings. I could edit that in five minutes.). Abby goes to Tommy’s house to find the police already there. Despite Abby’s attempts to have Tommy put the gun down, Tommy, with the footage censored, kills his wife, his kids, and himself. The police, in this scene, say that they have no clear shot at Tommy, but after Tommy shoots his wife, the police have an entire second to shoot Tommy! Police officers are trained to make split-second decisions! They should be able to handle a situation like this! They could have easily shot Tommy and saved his kids!

Anyways, Abby suspects that Tommy might have been abducted by EBEs. She herself may have been abducted, as her assistant gives her a tape recording, which plays her scream and sounds of something attacking her, speaking in an electronically distorted unknown language. Abby does not remember events like this happening to her. Dr. Abel Campos (Elias Koteas), Abby’s colleague, is skeptical of these alien abduction claims. Abby contacts Dr. Awaloa Odusami (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), an ancient language specialist and a friend of her husband’s, who identifies the mysterious language as Sumerian. Dr. Odusami gives examples from the past – Sumerian carvings that depict rockets shaped like Apollo and humanoid figures in space suits and oxygen masks.

By the way, the EBE dialogue consists of:

“——–“ word or two “———“ word or two AD NAUSEAM. It gets old QUICK.

Abby decides to try hypnotherapy again, this time on another patient named Scott (Enzo Cilenti). Yes, because it worked SO WELL last time! While under, Scott relates his story. There was no owl, and “they” tried to attack him. AAAAAAH! THEM! THEM! THEM! If you got that reference, you get fifty bonus points. That night, Abby is called by Scott’s wife. Abby goes to Scott’s house, and after Scott begs Abby to get something horrible out of his head, Abby puts him under. It does…not go well. In the only creepy scene in the entire movie, Scott jerks upright and hovers above his bed. The archive video of the scene distorts, and a distorted voice speaks in Sumerian, telling Abby to end her study. Scott drops to the bed, and we learn that he was paralyzed. Sheriff August (Will Patton), because of this, puts Abby under house arrest.

The dash-cam footage of a deputy assigned to watch the Tyler house shows a large, circular black object over the house. The video distorts, but the audio is unharmed (BULLCRAP); the deputy describes people being pulled out of the house. The rest of the police arrive to find Abby sobbing and screaming that “they” took Ashley into the sky. Sheriff August doesn’t believe this, and has Ronnie removed from Abby’s custody. Ronnie goes willingly, not believing Abby either.

Abby has Abel and Odusami put her under hypnosis so she can make contact with the EBEs. Abby is revealed to have actually witnessed Ashley’s abduction. There is a hint that Ashley may have been the result of EBE artificial insemination. Ew. So why was this movie not called The Seventh Kind? The video distorts, and we hear Abby beg the EBEs to return Ashley. The EBEs reply through Abby, saying that Ashley will never be returned. The EBEs call themselves the savior, the father, and, ultimately, God. The video returns to normal as Abel and Odusami rush over to an unconscious Abby. They hear something off camera, the video distorts, and when it clears up, all three are gone.

In the interview with Abby and Mr. Osunsanmi, Abby recounts that she, Abel, and Odusami were all abducted, but have no memory of the incident. Well, what did you think was gonna happen?

Cut back to 2000. Abby wakes up in the hospital, paralyzed. Sheriff August and Abel reveal that Will actually committed suicide, and that Will’s “murder” was a delusion. It is hinted that Ronnie knew this all along.

So, everything we’ve seen is absolute crock. It is 98 minutes of the ranting and raving of a madwoman. This immediately compromises all of this film’s legitimacy.

The film returns to the interview, where Abby begs the audience to believe her story.

Epilogue. Abby moved to the East Coast, where her condition deteriorated so much so that she requires constant care. Abel, Odusami, and August move on, and refuse to contribute to this movie. Ronnie remains estranged from Abby, and Ashley has never been found.

We transition to Jovovich and Osunsanmi leaving the audience with “What you believe is yours to decide.”

Bullcrap. They already decided for us when they revealed the terrible plot twist.

While this is indeed a terrible excuse for a horror movie, this film has another major kicker to it as well.

There are other major flaws that completely compromise the integrity of this film.

It does not contain the “the characters and events in this film are fictitious” disclaimer, but is also does not blatantly say “based on a true story”.

On the DVD, a deleted scene is featured: the Tommy murder-suicide UNCENSORED. If this was legitimate footage, would Universal allow what could be considered a snuff film on one of its movies?

The population of Nome is half Native Alaskan. We see only one – Dr. Odusami.

Nome has no sheriff’s department. No town in Alaska does.

I bring this issue back up: Tommy’s name being supposed to be an alias.

No one in Nome remembers a murder-suicide in October of 2000. Things like this do not happen every day.

The footage says it has been filmed in 2000. The cameras may be that old, but the footage may not be.

Two websites (both are now defunct) were registered by the producers a month before this film was released. One features a fake Abigail Tyler bio and several fake articles on sleep studies. The other features a fake Nome Nugget newspaper article. The Nome Nugget is a real newspaper. Its alleged author, Nancy Maguire, is a real person who works for the Nugget. The Alaska Press Club sued Universal for $20,000. Universal, like douches, claims that the 20 grand was a contribution to the APC, and that they were never sued.

The actress who played Abby in the archive footage has been identified as Charlotte Milchard.

Finally: there is no one under the name of Abigail Tyler that has ever been licensed to practice psychiatry in the state of Alaska.

This is not so much lack of respect for history, but lack of respect for the dead. The citizens of Nome were not pleased when they learned that Olatunde Osunsanmi had cashed in on a terrible tragedy.

In the end, what you believe is yours to decide.

Spoiler: it’s a friggin hoax.

Final verdict: 0 out of 5 stars.

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