THE FOURTH KIND
98 minutes approx
Abbey Tyler -
Sherriff August -
Hakeem Kae-Kazim -
Tommy Fisher -
Abel Campos -
Written by -
Directed by -
The town of Nome in Alaska is apparently alien abduction central for the USA. This film claims to be a dramatisation of events that really took place there as Dr Abigail Tyler attempted to continue the work of her murdered husband. Hypnotising people who are having trouble sleeping, she learns that they were all abducted by aliens and react very badly to being hypnotised. As she closes in on the truth, her own family becomes targeted.
THE FOURTH KIND is as fake documentary that hopes to wool over the audiences eyes to its artifice by being intense enough to distract from the film-making. The idea of using so-called real recordings, both video and audio, of the events alongside the dramatisation appears at first to be quite legitimate, but if you have the full footage, why would you bother to recreate it and show it alongside the original as a frame for frame copy? Dramatising what's missing, yes, dramatising what's already there? That does not compute. What also doesn't scan is the fact that the interview footage is uniform in its lighting and image quality. Yes, there are breaks and distortions to make it feel real, but true amateur films never match up in the same way.
Once you accept the film for what it is (a mixture of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and THE X-FILES), it is actually quite cleverly done. Using supporting actors like the commendably restrained Elias Koteas and reliable Will Patton to support Milla Jovovich gives it a bit more weight and the blandness of what is actually shown (no huge spaceships, no alien faces leering into the screen) and what is actually debunked along the way (the truth about the death of Dr Tyler's husband for example) feed into the image of it being a real situation, but also means that a lot of the film isn't all that exciting or cinematic. One hypnotised person screaming and crying is pretty much the same as another.
The film also lacks a punchy climax to actually give it some sort of point. If you don't get that it's not real then that's fine, but figure it out and that just means it sort of, well, just ends.
THE FOURTH KIND is technically clever, but it never manages to convince or to pay off on its story. At least it's short enough not to outstay its welcome.Top
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