Movie review: The Fourth Kind

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Moviegoers, you're about to be punk'd. In ads and trailers, Universal Pictures has leaned hard on the it's-all-true angle of The Fourth Kind, and writer-director Olantunde Osunsanmi keeps it up through the movie itself.

But as a couple of websites have already established, the only truth in this alien abduction saga is a statistically high incidence of disappearances where it's set - Nome, Alaska.

The tactic may have worked to hype The Blair Witch Project, but for most, that film delivered regardless of whether it was based in fact. Once the untruth is out there, The Fourth Kind just doesn't work.

Milla Jovovich introduces things as herself, setting up the combination of film and "actual video footage" used to tell the story of her character, Dr. Abigail Tyler. A psychologist conducting a sleep disorder study, Abigail finds that her patients have all shared a similar sleep disruption, a strange, hazy memory that leads to emotional breakdown if the doctor pokes at it with hypnosis.

Sure enough, her patients, and Abigail herself, have been taken in the night for alien experimenting. As their unseen presence intensifies, Osunsamni jacks up the scares by splitting the screen between good old Hollywood production values and poor-quality video, contrasting what's supposed to be real with what's accepted as fake.

Occasionally the combination is effective, but generally, this feels like a pricey, reenactment-heavy version of something you'd see on the Discovery Channel.

"The Fourth Kind"

Opens Friday

Grade: C-