Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fourth Kind... Real Or Just A Mind Game?

Horror movies are all the buzz this time of year, we have so many thrown at us that it is hard to sort out the good from the bad, we have seen the small budget movie (Paranormal Activity) that has become overnight one of the biggest grossing films of the year, not to mention one of the best. We have gotten the countless remakes, of what were originally semi poor movies (The Stepfather) to begin with. We also get the movie that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. That is exactly what "The Fourth Kind" does, it makes you wonder, and along the way it has a few little scares in store for you.

Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich) follows up on a study that was started by her late husband, she began videotaping sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented. Their accounts of being visited by alien figures all share disturbingly identical details, the validity of which is investigated throughout the film. Some of the movie is archive footage and at the films start is almost more of a disturbance than entertaining, by the middle of the movie you hardly notice it.

When Dr. Tyler's patients all recount the same stories, about waking up around three AM and seeing an owl outside their window Dr. Tyler decides to place them under hypnosis. Her first subject is Tommy (Corey Johnson) when he goes under we witness his trauma, the fear in his eyes is incalculable and later when Dr. Tyler is called to his home by Sheriff August (Will Patton) Tommy murders his family and then commits suicide. Joined by her colleague (Elias Koteas) and a Sumerian translator (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), Dr. Tyler puts another patient under, Scott (Enzo Cilenti) the results are just as scary, we see through distorted camera footage what we will undoubtedly think of as demonic possession where Scott appears to be levitating off the bed. When Scott is paralyzed by the experience Sheriff August comes to Dr. Tyler's house to arrest her, it is the lone fact that Dr. Tyler had witnesses present that the sheriff doesn't arrest her. Leaving an officer outside of the Tyler house, the sheriff leaves, he is soon back when the officer reports something hovering over the house. We later find out that Ashley (Mia McKenna-Bruce) was abducted by the Aliens, this is what is considered The Fourth Kind.

The archive footage is scary at points and sometimes it is not much more than static, it is during these moments that the movie takes an almost unreal feeling, we see through the distortion that the person on the other side of the camera is almost something like a distorted human, mouth hanging agape beyond what we assume is normal, the sounds coming from the person are guttural and menacing.

I give The Fourth Kind a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, this is one of those small budget movies that will leave an impression on you long after you have walked out, and if you are a believer or not, you will be astounded by some of the footage and one in particular, the scene where they show the space craft hovering over Dr. Tyler's home seconds before her daughter is said to be abducted. The special effects are so intense that you feel drawn into the story, the archive footage becomes more of a character than some of the others, it becomes something that feels more real than the story itself. When we see Dr Tyler in the footage we immediately see that life has not been easy on her, and as the movie unfolds we see why it hasn't and we become attached to her and what it is that she appears to be going through. As a cynic I started to think about what plot twist Hollywood would throw at us and I am glad to say that they spare us this usual tactic.

The Fourth Kind is rated PG-13 for Violent/Disturbing Images, Some Terror, Thematic Elements and Brief Sexuality
Running time is 1 hr. 39 mins.

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