What a disappointment. I’ve seen this movie weeks ago and it took me to now actually write down in coherent words how angry it made me. I saw the trailer a few times prior to actually seeing The Fourth Kind and it looked amazing. The idea of watching a documental re-enactment of paranormal events had me completely suckered in. I always fantasised about alien abduction theories and I was more than willing to be completely taken in by the suggestion that all this could be a reality. The whole advertisement campaign blatantly boasted that the whole story was backed up by actual archive footage, it all seemed pretty solid; that is, until all the lies are unfurled like a rug of heart breaking dissatisfaction. First, I think I should give you a background before I bitch about all that.
Our story is set in Nome, Alaska where since the 1960s people have been mysteriously disappearing. The FBI has, apparently, investigated the area and each case but no truth has ever been revealed; that is until Dr Abigail Tyler, a psychiatrist working in Nome tries to justify her alien abduction theories. Her husband was inexplicably murdered right beside her, in their bed. How she didn’t see a murderer and claimed it was an alien, I don’t know but I always thought extra terrestrials came in peace, not land down on your planet to spontaneously kill your spouse. E.T would be hanging his head in shame! I don’t want to give the whole game away but there are some individuals in the town that are patients of hers that see the same owl every night, suffer from insomnia and generally see terrible, terrible things that the audience never hear much about. Typical.
Now to the bitching. I believe that it’s very important that I should mention that upon doing a bit of research for this review I found out some very interesting information. Apparently a few American newspapers were trying to investigate the validly of their footage and case studies to find that apparently Universal attempted to deceive the public with fake articles online and fake obituaries to justify that everything they were telling us was basically real. There was no need! There are thousands of cases all over the world where people have claimed to have and alien encounter, could they not have based a movie loosely on that and tried to get some interviews and photos? Nah, that would obviously involve hard work.
I also thought the acting was pretty stale. It’s like all the actors knew they were going to regret starring in this movie a few months down the line. That, and Dr. Abigail Tyler was the most annoying person I’ve ever been forced to watch in my life. Thank god she’s fictional. She just whines the whole way through, even at the start when she just states her name, it sounds like she’s whinging. Also; that whole dead husband thing? Please, spare me. The characters mention it literally about 40 times even when it’s not necessary. Yeah, it’s bad times that he’s dead but does Bambi mention his mother as much after she’s basically shot in front of him? No? Then suck it up, no one cares, we just want to see aliens terrorising poor Alaskan folk.
The end was pretty annoying too. Rather than justifying the possible existence of extra terrestrials we’re just led to believe that Dr Tyler is a complete psycho that possibly killed her daughter without knowing it. Even her 10 or 12 year old son didn’t want anything to do with her then when the events were unfolding to years later when he was in his 20s. Small boys would lap up the idea of their little sisters being taken away by UFOs, it’s like a dream come true! But they had to make him dull too.
I will admit, the split screen perspective contrasting the ‘actual’ footage with the re-enactment was a great idea and it was probably the only thing that was keeping me interested. That, and the aliens that the audience couldn’t really see. Even the footage when down the path of realism and included the distortion a real UFO would create; great effect, but it made all the fun stuff harder to see and a bit frustrating. They were probably playing on the use of imagination and getting scared of what you can’t but potentially could see, like the famous shower scene in Psycho but if I really wanted to use my imagination I would’ve stayed at home with some crayons and A3 paper.
In conclusion, this whole affair should be approached with caution. Don’t go to see it expecting to be dazzled by a great story or awesome special effects, it won’t happen. If anything, watch it for the novelty and enjoy how it potentially could’ve been amazing. I can’t believe that they delivered The Fourth Kind so lazily especially when it looked so innovative. I hope that someone will pick up on this movie’s strengths and rejuvenate all the aspects that simple didn’t work. Learn from your mistakes and try again next time Olatunde Osunsanmi! You’ll direct something epic someday!