The Fourth Kind (2009)

The Fourth Kind is confusing, boring and patronizing. Although it attempts to compel and scare, it tries too hard and fails miserably. Perhaps relatively harmless, it lacks pace and occasionally frustrates. Not a disappointment of a film, more just a waste of time.

Dr Abigail Tyler is nervous. Being interviewed by Chapman University in front of a camera, she retells the story of what happened to her in October 2000, where she treated a number of patients in the Alaskan town of Nome, whose sleep had been haunted by something horrible. Convinced there’s a link between their dreams, Dr Tyler gave out hypnotism sessions like they’re candy, and ended up unleashing the memories of multiple victims of some seriously demented alien abductions…

The Fourth Kind is needlessly twisting, and it frustrates in how it never really has a constant, understandable plot. It bumbles along, throwing in themes and ideas, interspersed with pointless voice-overs and archive footage, giving away enough for you to understand people are being abducted, but not really asking you to care about them.

The image of the black-eyed owl is the only remotely disturbing thing about The Fourth Kind, apart from the fact someone commissioned the film. For anyone who’s ever watched an episode of The X-Files or Outer Limits or read about UFOs they will be instantly bored and horribly frustrated. Anyone else will just be bored and a little confused.

The film is also endlessly pock-marked with vastly pointless split-screen moments, showing the actors and the “real” footage simultaneously. It’s like watching an ‘act off’, where no one wins, and the audience always loses.

It doesn’t help that Elias Koteas plays Dr Tyler’s regression therapist, whose eyes alone put the word “rapist” into therapist. Looking mostly like a bored Robert De Niro, he seems as convinced with Jovovich’s performance as the audience would be. And having the likes of Will Patton, Corey Johnson and Hakeem Kae-Kazim acting as actors who’re pretending to be real people that aren’t actually real is simply embarrassing.

If anyone, anyone, thinks the archive videos are real then they’re clearly insane. At one point we see the footage of a man shooting his wife, his children, and then blowing his head off. So inane is the suggestion any of it’s real, it seems bizarre the town of Nome is even bothering to sue the film company for claiming it is. Admittedly, the town does have a very high missing persons rate, but apart from that is doesn’t warrant being concerned about a film that is so utterly poor.

The Fourth Kind is dull. Written and directed by the creator of The Cavern, it is not surprising that this fails to entertain. The whole concept is flawed, the acting is mediocre and the plot is lackluster at best. It is harmless, watchable stuff, but about as convincing as crop-circles made by a Vauxhall Nova.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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