The Fourth Kind
The Fourth Kind is a 2009 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi and featuring a cast of Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Corey Johnson, Will Patton, Charlotte Milchard, Mia Mckenna-Bruce, Yulian Vergov, and Olatunde Osunsanmi. The title is derived from the expansion of J. Allen Hynek's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the fourth kind denotes alien abductions.
|The Fourth Kind|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Olatunde Osunsanmi|
|Produced by||Paul Brooks|
|Screenplay by||Olatunde Osunsanmi|
|Story by||Olatunde Osunsanmi|
Terry Lee Robbins
|Music by||Atli Örvarsson|
|Edited by||Paul Covington|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$47.7 million|
The film is a pseudodocumentary purporting to be based on real events occurring in Nome, Alaska in 2000, in which psychologist Dr. Abigail Emily "Abbey" Tyler uses hypnosis to uncover memories from her patients of alien abduction, and finds evidence suggesting that she may have been abducted as well. The film has two components: dramatization, in which actors portray the individuals involved, and "documentary", in which video footage purports to show the 'actual' victims undergoing hypnosis. Throughout the film, Abbey, played by Charlotte Milchard, is shown purportedly being interviewed on television in 2002, two years after the abductions occurred. At some points in the film, the "documentary" and dramatized footage are presented alongside each other in split-screen.
The film received mainly negative reviews from critics but made US$47.71 million in cinemas worldwide.
Chapman University hosts a televised interview with psychologist Abigail "Abbey" Tyler (Milla Jovovich/Charlotte Milchard). She tells a story of a close encounter incident at Nome, Alaska, in October 2000.
In August 2000, Tyler's husband, Will (Yulian Vergov), is mysteriously murdered one night in his sleep, leaving her to raise their two children, Ashley (Mia Mckenna-Bruce) and Ronnie (Raphaël Coleman).
Tyler tapes hypnotherapy sessions with three patients who have the same experience: every night a white owl stares at them through their windows. Tyler hypnotizes two of them, and both recount similar terrifying stories of creatures attempting to enter their homes. Tommy Fisher (Corey Johnson), her first patient to go under hypnosis, refuses to admit what he sees and returns home. Later that night, Abbey is called by the police to Tommy's house, where she finds him holding his wife and their two children at gunpoint. He insists that he remembers everything and keeps asking what "Zimabu Eter" means. Despite Abbey's attempts to get Tommy to put his gun down, he shoots his family and turns the gun on himself.
After hearing the similarities in the accounts of nightly occurrences, Abbey suspects these patients may have been victims of a non-human kidnapping. There is evidence that she herself may have been abducted, when an Assistant gives her a tape recorder, which plays her voice and the sound of something with a distorted electronic voice entering her home and attacking her. It speaks in an unknown tongue; Abbey, though, has no memory of it. Abel Campos (Elias Koteas), a colleague from Anchorage, is suspicious of the claims. Later, Tyler calls upon Dr. Awolowa Odusami (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a specialist in ancient languages who was a contact of her late husband, to identify the mysterious language on the tape. Odusami identifies it as Sumerian.
Another, more willing patient named Scott (Enzo Cilenti) wishes to communicate. He admits that there was no owl and speaks of "them", but cannot remember anything further, but does say that he knows why Tommy did what he did. Later, he insists she come to his home to hypnotize him, to get something seemingly horrific out of his head. But while he is under, he suddenly jerks upright and begins hovering above his bed, while a distorted electronic voice coming out of his mouth tells Dr. Tyler in Sumerian to immediately end her study. Later, Sheriff August (Will Patton) arrives, telling her that Scott had three upper vertebrae completely severed from his experience, and was completely paralyzed. The Sheriff tries to arrest her, but Campos comes to her defense, seemingly confirming her story. The Sheriff instead places her under house arrest.
One of the deputies stays to watch the house and starts recording with his dash-cam. The dash-cam footage shows a large black triangular object flying over the Tyler house. The video then distorts, but the deputy is heard describing people being pulled out of the house and calls for backup. Deputies rush into the house, finding Ronnie and Tyler, who is desperately sobbing, screaming that Ashley was taken into the sky. Sheriff August, not believing in her abduction theory, accuses her of her daughter's disappearance and removes Ronnie from her custody. Ronnie, though, goes with them willingly, not believing the alien abduction theory either.
Tyler undergoes hypnosis in an attempt to make contact with these beings and reunite with her daughter. Campos and Odusami videotape the session, and once hypnotized, it is revealed that Tyler witnessed the abduction of her daughter and also shows scenes of her own abduction, showing part of the abductors ship and it is hinted that they possibly took some human egg cells from Abbey as well. The camera scrambles, and Abbey begs the alien that abducted Ashley to return her. The creature replies, saying that Ashley will never be returned. It then calls itself the savior, then the father and finally ends with "I am ... God". When the encounter ends, Campos and Odusami rush over to the now unconscious Abbey and then notice something out of camera's view. The camera scrambles again, and a volatile voice yells "Zimabu Eter!". When the camera view clears it shows that all three of them are gone.
The film cuts to an interview with Tyler in which she explains that all three were abducted during that hypnosis session and no one has any memory of what happened.
The film returns to the aftermath of Abbey's hypnosis session. She wakes up in a hospital after breaking her neck in the abduction. There, August reveals that Will had actually committed suicide, showing that Abbey's belief that he was murdered was merely a delusion. Later it is shown that Abbey is paralyzed in a wheelchair, presumably due to her neck injury.
The film then returns to the present interview, where the Interviewer asks Abbey how they, he and the viewers, can believe her if most of what she thought was only in her mind. Abbey tearfully tells him that she has to believe that Ashley is still alive. The interviewer ends the interview as Abbey breaks down in tears.
In the film's epilogue, it states that Abbey was cleared of all charges against her, leaves Alaska for the East Coast, and deteriorates to the point of being completely bed-bound and requiring constant care. Campos remains a psychologist and Odusami becomes a professor at a Canadian university. Both men, as well as August, refuse to be involved with the interview, while Abbey's son Ronnie remains estranged from Abbey and still blames her for Ashley's disappearance. It also states that Ashley was never found. However, as is repeatedly stated in the movie: "In the end, what you believe is yours to decide".
- Milla Jovovich as Abigail "Abbey" Tyler
- Charlotte Milchard as Abigail "Abbey" Tyler (credited as "Nome resident")
- Elias Koteas as Abel Campos
- Will Patton as Sheriff August Thompson
- Corey Johnson as Tommy Fisher
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Awolowa Odusami
- Enzo Cilenti as Scott Stracinsky
- Eric Loren as Deputy Ryan
- Raphaël Coleman as Ronnie Tyler
- Mia Mckenna-Bruce as Ashley Tyler
- Yulian Vergov as Will Tyler
- Olatunde Osunsanmi as Interviewer/Himself
- Daphne Alexander as Theresa
This is the first major film by writer and director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who is a protégé of independent film director Joe Carnahan. The movie is set up as a re-enactment of allegedly original documentary footage. It also uses supposedly "never-before-seen archival footage" that is integrated into the film.
The Fourth Kind was shot in Bulgaria and Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The lush, mountainous setting of Nome in the film bears little resemblance to the actual Nome, Alaska, which sits amidst the fringes of the arctic tree line, where trees can only grow about 8 ft tall due to the permafrost on the shore of the Bering Sea.
To promote the film, Universal Pictures created a website with fake news stories supposedly taken from real Alaska newspapers, including the Nome Nugget and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The newspapers sued Universal, eventually reaching a settlement where Universal would remove the fake stories and pay $20,000 to the Alaska Press Club and a $2,500 contribution to a scholarship fund for the Calista Corporation.
The Fourth Kind received mainly negative reviews from critics, many of whom were offended that the film attempted to use the real life tragedies of missing and deceased Nome citizens in order to make money using a fictitious story about alien abduction. The film currently has an 18% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 114 reviews. The site's consensus reads "While it boasts a handful of shocks, The Fourth Kind is hokey and clumsy and makes its close encounters seem eerily mundane." American critic Roger Ebert gave it one and a half stars out of four, comparing it unfavorably to Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, while praising Milla Jovovich's acting.
CNN reviewer Breanna Hare criticized The Fourth Kind for "marketing fiction as truth". Nome, Alaska Mayor Denise Michels called it "Hollywood hooey". According to Michels, "people need to realize that this is a science fiction thriller". Michels also compared the film to The Blair Witch Project, saying, "we're just hoping the message gets out that this is supposed to be for entertainment."
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