Fourth Kind, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Elias Koteas. Universal. Thriller. Written & Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi.

FILM SYNOPSIS: 1n 1972, a scale of measurement was established for alien encounters.  When a UFO is sighted, it is called an encounter of the first kind.  When evidence is collected, it is known as an encounter of the second kind.  When contact is made with extraterrestrials, it is the third kind.  The next level, abduction, is the fourth kind.  This encounter has been the most difficult to document.

The Fourth Kind is a provocative thriller set in modern-day Nome, Alaska, where -- mysteriously since the 1960s -- a disproportionate number of the population has been reported missing every year.  Despite multiple FBI investigations of the region, the truth has never been discovered.

Here in this remote region, psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich) began videotaping sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented.

Using never-before-seen archival footage that is integrated into the film, The Fourth Kind exposes the terrified revelations of multiple witnesses.  Their accounts of being visited by alien figures all share disturbingly identical details, the validity of which is investigated throughout the film.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Unnerving, arm-gripping, it is the scariest movie of the year. Ms. Jovovich proves she is more than just a slayer of resident evil. She’s a commanding screen presence even in a serious film, a solid actress. And the film has an interesting premise; millions of people have claimed to see UFOs, thousands proclaim they have encountered extraterrestrials, and far too many have pronounced to the media that they have been abducted by space explorers. While I believe there is a more Scriptural answer to those assertions, I do find the subject interesting. What exactly is going on out there?

Without wishing to give too much away, I must tell you that contact is made with beings from space. They probe, they kidnap and one proclaims to be God. The assertion does not stand, not even for the characters in the film. The lead, who professes Christ as savior in a dinnertime grace, says, it can’t be God, but it can pretend to be God. Indeed, if the being were God, why would He be probing Earthlings – He made them in the first place!

The technical aspects are all first rate, except for the excessive use of the hand-held camera. While it bobs and weaves in order to create tension, the movement becomes annoying and brings attention to the cameraman rather than the action. The audience should never be conscious of the camera. It should be subjective, an extension of the viewer. Hollywood, enough with the hand-held camera. Somebody spring for a tripod!

Ultimately, the film leaves us with a feeling of hopelessness, and may be a spiritual distraction. It contends that there are ETs who have no caring about the physical and emotional pain they inflict while checking our DNA. If you, like I, don’t believe that there is intelligent life flying around the universe with the intent of doing medical experiments on human beings, then the stooryline becomes ludicrous. What's more, it's depressing. If there is no such attack on mankind by space aliens, then all those claiming close encounters are really having some sort of emotional breakdown. I hate to think of people unable to escape such mental distress.

Allow me to suggest a more uplifting fright flick: Signs. Farmer Mel Gibson discovers crop circles on his land. Soon the world is crawling with hostile aliens. Besides being an arm-grabbing suspenseful thriller, Signs is an equally touching family drama. We get to know this broken family as they cope with the traumatic loss of a wife and mother. There is an intimacy in both script and presentation that causes us to care for these people.

Director M. Night Shyamalan uses invading space aliens as a metaphor for our fears of the unknown and our struggles with life’s injustices. Rather than merely using the supernatural to scare us, he incorporates emotion and humanity into the thriller to give us a drama that suggests the importance of faith and spirituality in our journey through life.

Added to the drama and suspense is the story’s subtext about a man losing, then regaining his faith. The film also has an intriguing take concerning coincidence in our daily lives. Do things happen by chance or do they serve to develop our nature? Mr. Shyamalan’s film is about finding our way – or finding our way back.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around six obscenities, mostly the s-word and several minor expletives (damns an hells)

Profanity: Five profane uses of God’s name and two of Christ’s.

Violence: We see an insane man shoot his kids and wife, before putting the gun to his own mouth; intense convulsions as patients under hypnotism relive horrifying and unexplainable experiences; these convulsions cause physical injury. Blood: Some blood is splattered when a person is shot to death.

Sex: One brief sexual situation between husband and wife, but it is not graphic.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Adults

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