The Fourth Kind Review

Published 4 years ago by

Short Version: IF you let it draw you in with its factual approach, The Fourth Kind will creep you out more than Paranormal Activity.

the fourth kind review The Fourth Kind Review
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.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: 3 star movies, the fourth kind

75 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Not sure if it’s worthy of a theater visit but it sounds different at least. Change can sometimes be good.

  2. Owl’s in the night? Strange dreams? People screaming just before they wake up? People coming up missing in a small town? Where’s Special Agent Dale Cooper when you need him?

  3. Main thing that messed it up for P.A was the hype… granted i didn’t like it but the thought of sleeping next to someone like that is somewhat disturbing. I’ll wait for the dvd on this one… too many stupid kids and teenagers will probably mess up the experience for me anyways.

  4. Sounds cool, but its no Transformers 3

  5. But it’s no Transformers 3? That sounds like a selling point to me. :-P

  6. The critics at rottentomatoes.com are really hating this movie (only 10 fresh out of 56). But those guys are usually the artsy-loving types. But they seem to like 2012 so far (1 rotten out of 5).

  7. @conbot

    ZING!!

    :-)

    Vic

  8. While I’m not big on believing hypnosis, after watching this movie I think I’ll have to reevaluate that belief. Having most definitely experienced an encounter of the first kind myself first hand. This movie freaked me out for sure.

  9. (If the story and footage are real I’d give this a 4th out of 5,,,)

    Without giving much away, I though this was a pretty unique film documentary. The way the “actual” footage is incorporated into the movie is something I don’t think I’ve seen done before. The footage drives the story in a way that plays out like a big budget HBO special but the performances from all the actors sell the film…

    One thing that stood out was the real life footage of Abigail Taylor. She is seen as a complete wreck of a woman. (Clearly Oscar winning if this was faked.) While I felt bad for her, at the same time I could barely stand to listen to her speak as her voice was ugly, is the best way to describe it. She seemed like a corpse of a woman completely destroyed by the events in the film. Feel bad one minute, want to slap her the next, it was frustrating…

    There were also times in the film where I wanted to scream at the screen not in horror but with anger! Seems no matter whenever your dealing with alien life ufo’s etc there’s always going to be someone that’s looking at you like your zonker’s! In this case its the chief of Police. Its so obvious that there’s an X-file taking place yet he thinks aliens are crazy talk and drags Abigail through hell the entire time.

    Overall,,,
    The Fourth kind, was a well produced, freaky, disturbing story of alien abduction…
    I think everyone should check it out even if later on dvd. ;-)

  10. Let me start by saying I really liked pa, and if you read my comments on it I explain why.

    With that out the way, this film was, imho, beyond bad.

    The split screen thing is a mess to watch, and pointless to boot. I hated it.

    As for the story..would be a really interesting concept, but was ruined, by a bad movie.

    IT is NOT REAL. None of it. The footage is not real, the story is not real, there is no such person as abigale tylor…they are liers! Lieing scumbag liers. Who suckered us

  11. SPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READSPOILER STUFF…DONT READ

    @790:”. Its so obvious that there’s an X-file taking place yet he thinks aliens are crazy talk and drags Abigail through hell the entire time.”

    I found this to be one of the worst aspects of the movie..because it is all over the place and makes no sense.
    Think about it; Even though she has expert witnesses and footage of everything, these witnesses mysteriously never corroborate her story. Nobody cares a bit about the recording,which might be important for ya know evidence. Even her two partners dont seem to believe her story, and they are involved in it. Not to mention the insane way the husband story is played out. They talk about his murder all though the film, and the whole movie starts with her thearpist friend trying to help her remember the murderer. But then, out of nowhere at the end, it turns out that he committed suicide and she imagined the whole thing? WTF? All the while everybody, including her friends, knew this all along, but didnt think…hay, maybe she is a crazy person and she should be committed. She comes off as a crazy person for good reason. Because she apparently is. She even admits this much by the ending. Her kids are scared of her, her son friggen begs for the police to take him away, after her daughter mysteriously disappears into the wind….from a house that is under 24 hour police surveillance, and nobody even seems to find it a bit odd. By that time I was waiting for some twist ala ‘The Uninvited’.

    The story just made no sense, it seemed more of a disjointed mess.

  12. I got sick when I saw PA because of the movement of the camera,and that didn’t let me enjoy it. Does anybody here know if the camera movement is similar in the Fourth Kind?
    I would like to know before deciding to see it, so I can avoid feeling so sick!

    Thank you!

  13. Spoilers,,,,,,,

    Get out!!!

    Its all going to be ruined for you,,,
    Read after viewing!

    Get out of here!!!

    What!
    ^
    ^

    James,,,,,,,
    Its clear by the end of the film that Abigail’s version of her husbands murder is a false memory implanted by the aliens,,,

    On why the others acted the way they did,,,I think the police chief and yes most of her friends were under the influence and observation of these aliens as its clear to me that the entire town of Nome Alaska was under their control,,,

    What do you mean by her daughter mysteriously disappears,,,???

    It was clear that she was observed beaming out of a house through the roof by a UFO.
    This was first reported by the police officer. Then dismissed by the chief.

    The reason (IMO, if real) for the video interference is due to the aliens proximity, their technology could easily interfere with our audio/video technology…

    Again this is my opinion if the footage is “real”,,,
    I have some friends looking into this as of tonight. I can tell you that this director is out of nowhere,,, stay tuned,,,,,,

  14. ::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::::::SPOILER DISCUSSION:::::

    @790: wOW, That is a lot of wild assumptions you will need to make
    “Its clear by the end of the film that Abigail’s version of her husbands murder is a false memory implanted by the aliens”
    Why? He killed himself..Aliens didnt kill him. So they replaced a memory of his suicide with a memory of him being murdered? It such a mess.

    It is most certainly not real, I’m sorry to say. I knew it wasnt real while watching it, and did allow myself to think…Ok, maybe I’m being too much of a skeptic, but I knew this was fishy, so I took a few minutes to look into it. They are lying. And that is what kind of pisses me of. Its not a nod/wink kind of ‘true story’ stuff….Its over the top with Them swearing up and down that this is real footage, and its not! Archived footage? What archive?
    No one has heard of the psychologist, including the state licensing board and president of the state psychologists association. Dont even get me started on the guy who can somehow speak and understand fluent Ancient Sumarian. Or the idea that they had their names all changed????but their faces are clear in the ‘archive video’….so anyone can recognize them anyway. Hell, why would they need to hide their real names to begin with? Its all sooooo fake
    The only thing remotely real is that there were 20 disappearances and deaths in the area going back to the 1960s. And the FBI did check it out…they came to the conclusion that alcohol consumption and the winter climate were a common link in many of the cases, and its Alaska. And if 20 sounds like a lot, 11 of them were later found, killed by exposure or from falling off a jetty into the frigid Snake River.

    Now, ya want to real hook? Try Googling “Abigail Tyler” and “Alaska.” You’ll get a link to a convincingly boring Web site called the “Alaska Psychiatry Journal” — complete with a biography of a psychologist by that name who researched sleep behavior in Nome. Except the site is suspiciously vacant, mostly a collection of articles on sleep studies with no home page or contact information.

    Another site, http://www.alaskanewsarchive.com, features a story from the Nome Nugget about Tyler moving to Nome for research. The problem? The story is credited to Nugget editor and publisher Nancy McGuire, who says it’s baloney and she never wrote it.

    Both the news site and the medical journal site were created just last month, according to domain-name research sites.

    Ron Adler is CEO and director of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Denise Dillard is president of the Alaska Psychological Association. They said this week they’ve never heard of the Alaska Psychiatry Journal, or of Abigail Tyler.

    Viral Marketing baby.

    Now, the reason I’m so pissed about this movie is that it was not a ‘oh, haha ya got me kind of trick’ it was cynical straight up lying. And maybe that is why I’m really pissy about it.

    On another note, what did you think of the way it was done, with the split screen stuff? I was really annoyed by it. During the first ‘intense’ scene there were like 4 screens going at once, and it felt like my eyes and ears were being raped by ADD. The other times it was just awkward to me. just too different people saying the exact same thing, the same way, and there was no point at all for it. I cant understand why he chose to film it this way…

  15. Well James ALL records of Abigail Taylor could have been wiped out years ago, and then re-submitted online in conjunction to this film to appear as a hoax, and sorry but I don’t trust anything out of official fbi channels etc, and they do this all the time for laughs,,,
    Another factor for her move to NY ?

    That typed,,, I have said from the beginning that sure this could all be BS, probably is,,, I’m currently looking into this film and I will find out more, I have a connection on this project,,,

  16. It’s like “Twin Peaks” James. Another horror technique. In “Alien” you don’t see the monster much. You see more of the horrible things it does. Same thing can be done to the story as well. It moves somewhere outside logic like a dream. Not knowing what’s happening even though your flooded with information, the split screen technique for example. Your mind jumps to conclusions, you attempt to intuit on a gut level, because your subconscious can process data better than your consciousness. The primal part of the brain takes over. See your being controlled by the movie. It’s like the old “Outer Limits,” “we control the Horizontal we control the Vertical.” When you sat down in the theater you relinquished control, it makes you mad because you don’t like that! You want to be on the inside but your on the outside. The subject of the experiment. Doesn’t feel good does it, being abducted? EWW, AHHH we’ve hit home! ;)

  17. @the old man: Not really…..it just seemed extremely silly and annoying. I really dont get the split screen thing. Instead of sucking me into what was happening, it just made it feel like I was watching a stupid idea unfold before my eyes.

  18. Are you sure your not James Marshall who played James Hurley?? You like motorcycles don’t you? :)

  19. Seriously I’ll say it again your not supposed to be sucked in. You are the outsider the alienated, the controlled. It’s silly because it makes no sense. It’s annoying because it makes no sense. You have no defense other than that attitude or walk out of the theater. You know people did that with “Alien” too. Walked out. They wanted control back, you see.

    I have this theory I’ve been toying with, I’ll run it past you see if it makes any sense.
    Horror always has an element of the supernatural. I want to put my own definition by what I mean by supernatural. Anything that is beyond our everyday experience. The problem I have with the idea myself is I go back to the scene in “Apocalypse Now:Redux” where Col. Kurtz talks about horror. Is there something supernatural about the character of Kurtz? He certainly has a cult following and a charismatic control over his people but is it supernatural? Herbert called it “The myth making imagination of humankind.” What do you think?

  20. YES, SPOILERS.

    Fake beyond belief.

    I’m OK with movies playing aliens as mysterious and strange – they’re supposed to be. But hypnosis doesn’t work that way, that footage wouldn’t be splashed all over theater screens if real, and aliens can be strange all they want, but the strangeness of a psychologist who doesn’t apparently know ethics or, you know, psychology, is a bit much to swallow. And a cop can’t be judge/jury/executioner/curmudgeon just because he feels like it, either – one presumes they know they can’t just say “hey, I’m going to arrest you for NOT breaking laws” or “hey, I’m going to take your kid, even though I have no legal right to”.

    Moreover: levitation? Really? If the FBI was all over the disappearances, why didn’t they show up, here? An owl? As if. And “How is it that Sumerian was being spoken in a bedroom in Nome, Alaska?” Uh, because the chick HAD A BOOK ABOUT IT. Hello.

    And if the Sumerian Aliens of Doom didn’t want their story to get out, they sure do a worse job of messing up video than, oh, a strong magnet. And they’re exceptionally bad at it, too – I mean, what, they just happened to not notice a voice recorder? Kinda dumb, those aliens. And they’re smart enough to (maybe) implant a memory to cover up the husband’s suicide (why, again?), but that cop watching it all? Nah, leave him be. But be sure to make his video all fuzzy, don’t forget that, now.

    And the daughter! They just take the son away, and that’s that? They don’t organize a huge search? And no-one say they did, because it was clear everyone hoofed it, and left poor Milla crying WHY YOU EVIL ALIENS, WHY! while clutching a blinking-heart teddy bear.

    Besides which, I’m certain I’ve seen the “real” Dr. Taylor acting in something else before.

  21. Honestly…sounds like you are trying to over artsy it as to excuse a bad film.

    I didn’t dislike it because it messed with my mind or somethibg..I disliked it becouse the acting was hammed to the max, the plot was a mess, the script was poorly done, and the movie seemed like a bunch of bad gimmicks to the point that during the climax I could not help but giggle at how silly it was.

    I get the premise. I’ve read chariots of the gods and enjoyed genesis revised. I loved the mothman prophecies.
    This film just didn’t work for me. I think they wanted to do something really cool and fresh, but the ideas didn’t work.

    Or maybe I just don’t get it and there is something big I don’t see. Like your last paragraph…I don’t get it, I don’t get your point….some people see some crazy modern art and think its genious, some will think just some doofus threw paint on a cat thinking it was all rad and stuff, and tried to pass it off as something amazing.

    For myself, my money is on it just being a really poorly made film trying to ride a gimmick. That at best was like someone trying to do a cool magic trick, while really drunk…and wearing mittens..and forgot which sleeve the card was in…and isn’t good at magic tricks

    Oh well, they got my 12 bucks

  22. Chase, that was funny as hell wasn’t it? The nome legal system is pretty wacky.

    SPOILER

    I love when he asks deputy dumb if it was on the tape (the ufo), and the guy says no it didn’t record…then how the hell did I just watch it? Seriously, its part of the ‘footage’ they used in the ad even.

    Btw, how the hell did this guy know they were speaking sumarian? Nobody knows what sumarian sounds like spoken. IF real you would think these recordings would be a linguists or anthropologists wet dream.

    Man, I could go on

  23. What do you rate this Chase? Sounds like you would give it something real low. Do you feel or think it forced you to fill in the gaps? Looking back did you force your way into the story when it was trying to hold you outside. Letting what you know about the different disciplines law enforcement, psychology, electronics guide you to conclusions that the average person wouldn’t come to? Did you stop to think that perhaps the aliens had troubles of their own? Advanced beings doesn’t necessarily equate to perfection or infallibility.

    Though typically highly trained and competent psychologists are human too. I’ve heard stories of unethical behavior and strange beliefs and practices.

  24. “I love when he asks deputy dumb if it was on the tape (the ufo), and the guy says no it didn’t record…then how the hell did I just watch it?”

    Are you sure they’re not showing you a recreation of what happened and your misinterpreting it as something live? It sounds to me like the tape played once and then bam it was erased like the erase head was energized while they were playing it. To me that sounds like spooky action.

  25. @the old man : You didnt see the movie did you?….You sly fox, I like your style

  26. @james

    SPOILERS

    You are correct, sir, this was all made up. io9.com did an article on it a few days ago (dammit, they beat me to it, I was going to wait until this week).

    At the time I was watching it, though, I wasn’t certain it was fake (saw it a couple of weeks before it opened). But as I said above, the further in to the movie, the harder it is to believe. They lost at me when the guy levitated over his bed.

    Vic

  27. (If the story and footage are FAKE, I’d give this a 0 out of 5) :-(

  28. From what I’d heard about this movie, I really wanted to be pulled into a believable story and mood. The enterprise was an interesting concept, but the delivery ultimately both overwrought yet unengaging. Debating the possibility of authenticity, or the marketing ploy of lying about it, is the most fun part! See me do so with my gal-pal, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CYc0T5Gm0U

  29. Just curious, are there other movies that do the ‘We swear this is real footage thing’ and are full of it?

    I ask because, even with The Blair Witch Project They played the angle, and well, but really no more than say Texas ChainSaw Massacre. It had end credits.. the bit about ‘Any persons with similarities to the characters etc.. is purely coincidental and unintentional’. Paranormal Activity even had a disclaimer at the beginning (at least when I saw it) that this was a fictional movie.

    I cant off hand think of any other movie that went though such lengths to swear up and down to you that this was real footage in this manner.

    That’s why The BWP or PA were not Hoaxes..they were movies. The way this was done, however, kind of boarders on hoax.

    It just doesnt feel like a ‘ha, we got ya’ kind of thing. If feels like a ‘we think you are stupid and are going to piss on the audience, now give me money’ kind of thing.