The Fourth Kind Review

Published 5 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)

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  1. totally loved this movie.
    don’t care if it’s real or fake or somewhere in between, this movie creeped me out more than anything i’ve seen in along time.
    (i’m one of the rare people who neither loved nor hated PA.)
    i thought the stuff they did with the video footage was really unlike anything i’ve seen before and i found it to be a very powerful storytelling device.

    interesting that most mainstream critics are bashing it, but most of the user reviews i’ve seen are far more positive than negative. always interesting to see which films create that sort of split…

    i’m really glad i went to see this one early. much like PA, i think people who have seen the fourth kind are going to be talking about it a lot after. it’s one of those movies that sticks with you and brings out a lot of opinions in people. which always strikes me as a nice bonus when i see a film.

  2. @ziggy, I’m really curious, what did you like about the split screen thing?
    I found it really distracting and unnessecary. Thought it would be a lot better if it was either just ‘mockdoc’ or thriller, but the hybrid thing seemed really awkward without adding anything. I cant say its a style I’d care to see repeated

  3. I’ve just read through this entire thread… and I am asking myself: “Myself, did I just read an entire thread of people arguing whether this film used real archival footage or not?”

    I’m amazed that ANYONE could even have the slightest suspicions as to the authenticity of the “archival footage” in this film.

    Its a horror movie. Good or bad, it’s just a horror movie.

    If all this stuff were actually “archival footage”, there would be congressional hearings, an FBI task force, etc…

    Not “now playing at a cineplex near you!”

    Are people REALLY that gullible?

  4. @Mike E,,,
    It was billed as real footage. Knowing that it was more than likely staged I was willing to suspend disbelief while watching the film. As I stated, my opinion of the film depended on the footage being real. As it stands now it looks like we’ve all be taken for a ride and regrettably the field of alien abduction continues to be looked on by the mainstream as a huge conspiracy or hoax…
    ^
    You also said:
    “If all this stuff were actually “archival footage”, there would be congressional hearings, an FBI task force, etc…”
    ^
    Not really Mike as child abductions and murder suicides take place all the time. New Mexico has the highest rate of missing children in the US as well as one of the highest rates of ufo sightings…
    The FBI knows what’s really going on and they’re not going to investigate it,,, The real Fox Mulder’s and Dana Scully’s don’t rock the boat,,,

  5. @james
    i thought having to decide where to look made me more involved in the movie. your mind becomes more active as you process the different images, the story, and question how real is “real”.
    i agree, it’s not a style that needs to be repeated. or at least not in the same way. a novelty to be sure. but unique and worked to present the film in a different way.
    i wouldn’t want other tv shows to use the same techniques that 24 does. but for the purposes of what they’re doing it’s novel and effective. i think same applies to this movie.

  6. Just came back from viewing the movie.

    The split screen wasn’t too bad. I liked seeing the footage from 2000 while seeing how they acted it out.

    The movie was ok imo but entertaining in an x-files type of way. My main feeling leaving the theater was that I just felt bad for the mother and the family but the mom was obviously just insane. Other than that, I didn’t take much from it.

    Wait for video.

  7. @Dave Mowers, if your a buff, you know that some of these beings feed off of fear,,,

    Which kind are you?
    8-)

  8. Lol, how are things at Harvard these days?

  9. You know the usual, professors studying and proving with study how to justify stealing your money in the name of capitalism. Hey, there’s good money in this racket. Pst…Yale Society SAB.

    Now SLEEP…Edi Mene Onk

  10. @conbot
    its Hilarius that u anticipate transformers 3 lol

  11. I haven’t seen this either but would anyone honestly go into this believing that it might somewhat be plausible?? Have none of you learned your lessons from blair witch? If they were showing actual abduction footage or footage of little green men than wouldn’t that make it to the news first rather than your local theater… But hey it’s not a crime to WANT to believe :)

  12. @Fenix, the footage was very convincing and doesn’t contain any little green men.

    Maybe you should see it first before you critique it?

  13. Yea obviously I wasn’t really expecting actual green men. I guess it tough to emote sarcasm on a board…. I don’t care how convincing it was guy.. its a movie. Nothing you can say will change my opinion on THAT. The movie looks entertaining tho and I’m into ETs and stuff so i’ll check it out. This is random but I watched a good scary movie last night called The Descent. Best horror/thriller I’ve seen in years. I actually was thinking about the movie as I went to sleep which I never do and it honestly scared me a little.

  14. Fenix says: “I don’t care how convincing it was guy.. its a movie.”
    So is a documentary.

    Adrain says: “there is a lot of FACTS in that film to make it believable.” The best Pseudo Documentaries do. Nice to have someone that knows a little about the Sumerian language comment about it. Knew it was being mistaken as something impossible…

  15. Seriously dude, you are perusing a degree in Sumerian language and history and you Think Sumarian is an older form of Aramaic? I mean, that is so completely wrong, I dont even know where you got it from. They arent related at all.
    Man, I hope you read this so I can save you from flunking out of school.

    While we’re on the subject, how about this…The professor in the film keeps referring to Sumarian as the ‘oldest language in the world’…when that’s not even true, its the oldest WRITTEN language we know of. And even this may not be so, since the discovery of the Tataria Tablets in Romania that predate Sumarian Cuneiform by a thousand years. Regardless, Writing is not equal to speaking, and languages had existed for thousands of years before Sumarian civilization.

    Your Friend,
    James the Educated American

  16. I didn’t realize my Western Civ Proff read screenrant too….

  17. Adrian,

    I believe that an educated person never underestimates a group of people. Neither would an educated individual think that his bloodline dictates his level of knowledge.

    But back to the main subject at hand, The Fourth Kind.

    You stated this;
    “anyways fake or not, this film was very interesting if you know your history facts right…this movie had alot of them!”

    I’m curious, what other FACTS are presented in this movie other than the whole Sumerian language/history issue?

  18. @adrian, I’m actually a really nice guy :), but the condescending little tone you wanted to come at me with is the reason I’m talking down to you.

    And no, no matter how much you want to wish it so Assyrian does not have roots with Sumarian, it shares roots with Akkadian, which was a completely different language with completely different roots. They both adopted cuneiform from the Sumarians because that was dominant system of writing in the area (and that does not make them anymore related than Polish and Malay, which both currently use the Latin Alphabet). However, Aramaic had its own alphabet based on the Phoenician script (you do know that that language came from the Fertile Crescent area, not Mesopotamia, right?).

    I’ll give you the simple version, because I dont feel like writing term papers on screen rants. There were Sumarians, they spoke a language which was what is known as a language isolate. They were NOT a Semitic and spoke a non Semitic language. They were later conquered by the Akkadians, who were a semitic people who spoke a semitic language, and Akkadian became the lingua franca of the region (replacing Sumarian). Assyrian and Babylonian have their roots in Akkadian. Aramaic is also a semitic language and shares that with Akkadian and Assyrian. Which all has NOTHING to do with Sumarian. The fact that Akkad conquered Sumar, does not make Akkadian the same thing or even related to Sumarian. I think this is where your confusion is from. Maybe You are confusing Akkadian and Sumarian. Who knows? Maybe your obsession over some genealogical mythology is clouding your thinking.

    “thousands of years of assyrian heritage”…means nothing. My great great great grandpappy was a Turk, so what, doesnt make me an expert on Troy. Personally, Its kind of sad that people have to wrap themselves up in some ancestral mythology (5000 years ago there was a civilization there, and you act like you had something to do with it…lol, in reality its as much your actual heritage as it is mine). I never got that…does believing you may have a Sumarian ancestor from 5000 years ago actually make you feel special? Ah, whatever.

    Anyway, I’ve actually been to Ur several times (near modern Nasiriyah), and would have loved to discuss this stuff with you in a nicer way in a different forum… But you want to get all undeservably pompous with your ‘uneducated American’ stuff…I’ll knock you back to the Gutian period.

  19. Ziggy rules, and as far as this goes..

    “I’m curious, what other FACTS are presented in this movie other than the whole Sumerian language/history issue?”

    Imagine you are involved at any level with what is claimed to have occurred in the film. Would you really keep pushing it? Really? Even if you are FBI you are not stupid, screw saving lives and doing your job when you are up against something like this, ever see The Entity?

    Everyone involved in that ordeal gave up on that poor woman and wants nothing to do with a supernatural power that can KILL you at will.

    How is this for a fact, who cares what it is doing this or why or finding out any evidence, screw that. the He!! with Nome, Alaska.

    Whether or not it really happened no one who came against this thing will EVER want to talk about it and that is not the issue. The issue is that this was a damn good movie. If you are into the “alien thing” then…

    James made Adrian’s point by the way, all languages came from somewhere and Sumerian is the oldest known. Assyrian, Akkadian- whatever.

    Disclaimer:

    I am descended from the middle-eastern tribe of Conan who is responsible for the destruction of Assyrians, and subsequent enslavement therefore I cannot really be on Adrian’s side due to the whole family member killing your ancestors thing.