out of Five
Running time: 98
The Fourth Kind delivers a handful of decent shocks but it's ultimately let down by a weak plot, some patchy performances and the fact that the fictionalised reconstruction element doesn't really work.
What's it all about?
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, The Fourth Kind opens with Milla Jovovich introducing herself as actress Milla Jovovich and explaining that the film you're about to see is based on actual footage from real case studies, much of which subsequently appears alongside the dramatic reconstructions in split-screen format. Jovovich plays Dr Abigail Tyler, a psychiatrist in Nome, Alaska, who has thrown herself into her work after her husband was murdered by an unseen visitor in the night and hypnosis sessions with her own shrink (Elias Koteas) reveal that she was present and conscious when it happened.
When several of Abigail's patients begin talking about being visited by mysterious owls in the night, Abi wonders if alien abduction (the fourth kind of close encounter) might be involved. However, as she investigates further, she finds herself alienated from her children (Corey Johnson and Mia McKenna-Bruce), infuriating the local cop (Will
Patton) and, ultimately, putting her own life in danger.
To be fair, The Fourth Kind does deliver a couple of decent shocks, in the sense that someone suddenly sitting up in bed and screaming is always scary. The ‘actual’ video footage (complete with old-school tape-scratching interference) is authentic-looking and well shot, so it's a bit of a letdown when you start searching online for it afterwards and quickly realise it's all made up.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film is a crushing disappointment; the plot is extremely weak and the poorly directed abduction scenes are ripped straight off The X-Files, complete with spinning drill and flashing white lights. The performances are patchy too – Jovovich is fine for the most part but bungles the emotional scenes, whilst the unnamed actress playing the ‘real’ Abigail Tyler (in an interview with the director that's used throughout the film) speaks in a whiny monotone that quickly becomes irritating.
On top of that, the film offers no real insight and fails to even address nagging questions like why the aliens are so concerned with doors if they can phase through ceilings.
The Fourth Kind has a couple of creepy shock moments but is ultimately disappointing.
The Fourth Kind (15)