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“Warning: Some of the scenes you are about to see are very disturbing. Especially if you have a low tolerance for BS.”
I have a feeling that tucked away somewhere, on a gag reel the public is never intended to see, that’s what Milla Jovovich says as she stares intently into the camera. Then she starts laughing and waving her hand in front of her face and grinning, “Sorry. Let’s do that again.”
Jovovich (“A Perfect Getaway”) plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychiatrist in Nome, Alaska, whose husband was stabbed to death as he lie next to her in bed one night. She didn’t see the murderer’s face and has understandably been traumatized by the event. To assist her own grieving process, she decides to complete the sleep studies her hubby had been conducting on several locals.
She notices oddness in their stories. All of the patients claim to have had their sleep interrupted around 3 a.m. and under observation by an owl. When Abby hypnotizes one of them, he recalls details of such a shocking nature, he can’t reveal them. This is another of those conveniences without which this whole movie would fall apart faster than a cobweb Kleenex.
One night, Abby falls asleep while recording her notes from that day’s interviews. The next morning, she listens to the tape and hears herself screaming while some guttural voice growls threats at her in ancient Sumerian. She contacts an expert on the Sumerian language to translate for her. Fortunately, her husband had been reading a book on Sumerian just before he died. She also enlists the aid of a fellow head-shrinker (Elias Koteas, “The Haunting in Connecticut”). He’s the one who doesn’t believe in alien abduction. Neither does Sheriff August (Will Patton, “Wendy and Lucy”).
From this point on, the movie borrows plot points from a variety of sources: “The X-Files,” “The Exorcist,” “The Evil Dead,” among others. The hook is that it claims to be based on a true story “ don’t they all? “ and screenwriter/director Olatunde Osunsanmi clutters up the storytelling by including snippets of the actual footage shot while the real Dr. Tyler was interviewing the real people who were in patients in 2000.
Except there is no “real” Dr. Tyler. No Abigail Tyler was ever licensed to practice psychiatry in Alaska, according to reports; therefore, there were no “real” patients, and the “authentic” footage is as phony as a $5 Rolex. It’s all a hoax. Why, I bet Dr. Tyler can’t even see Uranus from her backyard.
But so what? We’re all used to “based on a true story” movie hoaxes by this time. The deal-breaker with this one is that it’s so obviously a fake. Ancient Sumerian? Real tape footage that always go unwatchable just when some kind of proof is about to be recorded? Witnesses to world-changing events that are never questioned on film?
The movie is laughably inept, with no convincing attempts made to convince us that what we’re seeing is true, even as the advertising insists that it is.
“The Fourth Kind” is so full of BS, it makes the average stockyard smell like a bridal bouquet. Beam me up and get me out of here.