Short Version: IF you let it draw you in with its factual approach, The Fourth Kind will creep you out more than Paranormal Activity.
Screen Rant reviews The Fourth Kind
After the extreme split in opinions on Paranormal Activity (I liked it), I was curious to see The Fourth Kind to see which side of the fence I fell on. I can understand how you can either love or hate the former, and I have a feeling something similar will happen with this film: Either you buy into the whole premise and let it suck you in, or you stand back and call B.S. on the whole thing.
The Fourth Kind opens unexpectedly, with Milla Jovovich as herself talking plainly to the audience. She speaks matter of factly and seriously, telling us the details upon which the film we are about to see are based. In addition to actors portraying real people (most of whom will have their names changed in the film) there will be scenes of actual video shot during the events portrayed in the movie. It will be disturbing, she tells us.
What will be so disturbing? The account of Alaskan psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler (played by Milla), taken from her notes, videotapes (and a personal interview by director Olatunde Osunsanmi) which tells the story of the strange nocturnal experiences of a number of residents of Nome Alaska in the Summer/Fall of 2000. A number of townsfolk have all been experiencing the same unique visions and sleeplessness at night – similar in details that could not be coincidental, and they’ve individually turned to her for help in determining what these things mean.
They all share visions of being watched by a strange white owl in the middle of the night. This sounds goofy, but when they intercut footage of the actual people in her office relating their story – each on their own and each story with the same details – the creepiness factor starts to escalate. And it only gets worse as Dr. Tyler delves deeper into their psyches to unearth buried details via hypnosis.
What starts her down the path of “something really weird is going on” is the fact that going back to the 1960s there have been (for a town of its size) an awful lot of unexplained missing people in Nome. The FBI has gone out multiple times to try and find answers and has always come up blank. One of her sessions leads to a very tragic event, putting her at odds with the town sheriff who believes she is stirring people up and causing harm. Eventually things come to a head, get really crazy and out of hand, and bring us to the present day interview that is threaded throughout the film.
The creep factor comes in from assuming that what you’re watching is, in fact, true and that the homemade videos are all in fact legitimate. However I will say that the farther you get into the film the more you have to suspend your disbelief – especially with some of what appears in the supposedly real camcorder footage. I won’t give anything away, but you’ll understand if you see the movie.
If you don’t buy into that concept at least a little bit, then The Fourth Kind will leave you as cold as Paranormal Activity did for people who didn’t go along for the ride with that film. However if you let it get in your head, I think you’ll find that The Fourth Kind is even more effective at freaking you out and causing you some nervousness after you turn off the last light at night and head off to bed.