OK, let me say this right off the bat: The Fourth Kind is the biggest hoax of the year. Immediately raising the bar for believability sky high, Milla Jovovich saunters towards us in the film's opening to convey that she will be playing the "real" Dr. Abigail Tyler and that some of the "real" archival footage may prove disturbing. The movie then slams down to Earth, falling flat on its face.
Shot in Bulgaria, The Fourth Kind is basically another Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch, but with a bigger budget. Both director (Olatunde Osunsanmi) and Jovovich tell us on camera, "Here are the facts; it is now yours to decide." The real facts are that in Nome, Alaska between 1960 and 2004 more than 20 people mysteriously died, or vanished. The FBI concluded that "excessive alcohol consumption and a harsh winter climate" were to blame for the disappearances, though a serial killer hadn't been ruled out. This still left many unanswered questions and nine unrecovered bodies. From that, The Fourth Kind postulates that Nome is the epicenter for alien abduction, and not the ET-friendly kind, but rather the murderous-evil-white-light probing kind. Phoniness, however, overrides any hope for realism.
Osunsanmi literally gets in the way of his own flick, conducting interviews with the supposed real Abigail Tyler. A psychiatrist and hypnotherapist, Tyler supposedly videotaped sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented. We see awkward sepia-toned "real footage" with the acted-out portrayal in a split screen. This is at first interesting, then highly distracting.
The extreme seriousness in the face of absolute phoniness makes The Fourth Kind downright laughable. Just as aliens show up, giving us a chance to see something, the footage goes all static and unintelligible, like these extraterrestrials have gamma rays shooting out of their pores that screw up our primitive cameras. The film manages to use every alien film trick in the book: there's the scary owl, domestic problems, levitation, frightened eyes, vomiting, gurgling, tons of psycho babble, alien voices, a new lexicon of untranslatable languages and, of course, probing. On the scientific and historical side, there are quotes from Genesis and ancient artifacts This preposterous stuff goes beyond Omen 3 or The Da Vinci Code.
Jovovich's performance is absolutely lifeless while Elias Koteas (Dr. Campos) and Will Patton (Sheriff August) chew up Bulgarian scenery like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Their overacting brings to mind a bad scene study, and in Patton's case, this means hollering a lot. Even with its snail's pace, The Fourth Kind manages to pull off a couple real jolts, but the credits were the most enlightening. It seems the "real people" that the actors portrayed refused to comment or partake, and there was no documentation for the "real footage." As far as the questions surrounding the "real" Abigail Tyler, the credits only offer this bogus explanation: "Dr. Tyler, due to her deteriorating state, is now bed ridden and is under 24-hour observational care."
I get it... this movie is a big fake. But why all the hype? If the filmmakers want us to believe - that's fine. But why try so hard to fool us? It's funny, if the phoniness had been toned down trying to make us believe, we might've had a half decent movie.
The Fourth Kind ★★✩✩✩
Starring Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton. Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi. Rated PG-13