‘The Fourth Kind’ too clunky


The Fourth Kind is a
“found footage” horror movie with a few new tweaks, though not enough
to escape a certain clunkiness.

At the onset of Olatunde Osunsanmi’s film, actress Milla
Jovovich addresses the camera to announce that she’ll be playing real-life Alaska
psychologist Abigail Emily Tyler in re-enactments of actual events.

These re-enactments, we are assured, are based on genuine
video and sound recordings of Tyler and her patients in Nome. At various times Fourth
employs a split screen to play side-by-side
the re-enactments and the original grainy clinical recordings which inspired

To convince us that the “real” footage is just
that, the actors who appear in them don’t get a screen credit, lest that ruin
the illusion Osunsanmi is striving for.

In the wake of the mysterious death of her husband, Abbey
continues her study of patients with sleep disorders.

Dozens of locals report awaking at night and being
confronted by a white owl. Under hypnosis their memories get so intense they
become psychotic; after one such session a distraught patient shoots his family
and himself.

Harried by a local lawman (Will Patton) who holds her
responsible for the deaths, Abbey calls in a fellow psychologist from Anchorage
(Elias Koteas) to provide counsel and support.

What they uncover is a pattern of alien abductionsgoing back
decades — close encounters of the fourth kind. (In case you’re wondering, the
first kind is an alien sighting, the second is actual evidence and the third is

Sound recordings of these abductions reveal a voice speaking
an unknown tongue — an expert (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) says it’s ancient Sumerian, a
language unheard for 6,000 years.

And when Abbey ‘s little girl vanishes one night, things get
kicked into overdrive.

The Fourth Kind delivers
a few goose bumps (Osunsanmi samples not only Spielberg’s
Encounters of the Third Kind
but also The
), but in the end the film is more
desultory than disturbing.

The Fourth Kind

2 stars

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Elias Koteas, Hakeem

Rated: PG-13 for violent/disturbing images, some terror,
thematic elements and brief sexuality

Running time: 1:38