Thursday, October 26, 2023

Ten Days of Terror!: The Fourth Kind

Film: The Fourth Kind
Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on my phone.

We have a tendency to believe what we are told; it’s one of the reasons that people are very prone to falling for conspiracy theories. It’s also something that filmmakers can prey upon, and we’re prone to fall for it if we aren’t careful. The opening moments of Fargo tell us that the movie is based on true events, something that is a lie. Plenty of people fell for the “reality” of The Blair Witch Project. And it’s also what happens in The Fourth Kind, and in this movie, the attempt to tell us that this is based on reality is compounded by documentary footage after a fashion.

The opening moments of The Fourth Kind give us Milla Jovovich as herself telling us that she will be portraying Dr. Abbey Tyler and that the story we are about to see is not only based in reality, but that there is documentary footage that demonstrates the truth of the story. It’s not evident immediately, but this is an alien abduction story. What we’re going to see is not merely going to be supplemented by documentary footage, but at times will show us that footage side-by-side with the actors in the film, most of whom we are told have been given aliases to protect them.

We are also going to be treated to interviews of the real Abigail Emily Tyler being interviewed about her experiences. This will be intercut with Milla Jovovich playing her, and sometimes we will see archive video of Dr. Tyler and Jovovich, sometimes being interviewed and sometimes on video, side-by-side, with Jovovich essentially acting as the doctor in the video. Part of what we see are interviews with her patients—Dr. Tyler is a psychiatrist. Part of what we see are her own discussions with her own therapist, Abel (Elias Koteas).

The Fourth Kind is a bit of a slow burn, but eventually we get some real nastiness popping up. This starts when Dr. Tyler discovers that several of her patients are describing experiencing the exact same thing—waking up in the middle of the night and seeing an owl staring at them from outside of their window. When Dr. Tyler hypnotizes one of her patients (Corey Johnson) and it goes badly things start to heat up. And, honestly, the film takes a turn to the gruesome and nasty when we see side-by-side footage of the patient in the movie and police cam footage of the actual patient shooting his family and then himself.

We also learn that Dr. Tyler’s husband died under mysterious circumstances—she witnessed him being attacked, but can’t really remember it. And eventually, we will learn that everything that is happening is alien abduction—and that Dr. Tyler is being abducted as well, along with her children. In fact, this is the source of the title—it’s a play on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The first kind is seeing a UFO; the second is finding some tangible evidence; the third is an actual encounter with an alien. The fourth kind of encounter is abduction.

And with that, I’m going to spill the beans on The Fourth Kind entirely. If you don’t want to know where this is going, this is your cue to stop reading. The truth is that I have a great deal of disrespect for what this movie does, and so I’m not going to bother with a spoiler tag.

The whole thing is a hoax, something you can discover from looking the film up on IMDb or elsewhere. Milla Jovovich plays Dr. Abbey Tyler in the film, but Charlotte Milchard plays Dr. Abbey Tyler in the archived footage. It’s all entirely faked. The footage of the therapy sessions, the police cam footage, even (and especially) the patient killing his family all of this is faked along the lines of Blair Witch.

It feels very real, and in that respect The Fourth Kind is very well done. But it also seems to be in very bad taste to create something that genuinely looks like a very disturbed man murdering his family. It’s ugly, and while the faces are blanked out, it is incredibly unpleasant.

I twigged to the fact that this was a fake when, in an interview, “Dr. Tyler” claims that the sort of evidence that constitutes an encounter of the second kind includes crop circles. This was further reinforced when I realized that the man interviewing the supposed actual Dr. Tyler is the director of the film.

It feels like a cheat, and worse, it’s a cheat that capitalizes on bad taste. It feels dishonest in the worst possible way. I’m not merely disappointed in this; I’m angry.

Why to watch The Fourth Kind: It’s a pretty cool idea.
Why not to watch: This is the sort of dishonesty that fools a bunch of dumb people.


  1. I think I've seen this and thought it was just... eh...

    1. You're kinder than I am. I am actively angry about this movie.