THE THOUGHT OF BEING ABDUCTED by aliens doesn't really do it for me on the fear factor scale. But if I were fearful of UFOs and anal probings, The Fourth Kind would have me rattled. As is, it makes for a good, cheap thrill in the spirit of like-minded fake documentaries like The Blair Witch Project.
The Fourth Kind would very much like to pass itself off as a reenactment of the supposedly true events in which dozens of residents of Nome, Alaska, were abducted by aliens. Apparently, intelligent sentient beings from other galaxies really, really like to fuck with people while they're sleeping, because psychologist Abbey Tyler (Milla Jovovich) keeps encountering patients who awaken at 3 am because a white owl is staring at them. But the owls, natch, are not what they seem—they're the portents of Sumarian-speaking extraterrestrials that whisk people away! The Fourth Kind is bolstered by interviews with a "real" Dr. Abbey Tyler, and Milla saying stuff like, "I'm the actress Milla Jovovich," and split-screen shots of Jovovich and Tyler talking in synchronization—all are vain attempts to insist that this story is real, but it's not. Nome is not riddled with survivors of alien abductions. People have not mysteriously disappeared. No one spews Sumarian gibberish. It's all made up.
You can want to believe all you want, though, and The Fourth Kind will be a better movie if you're able to swallow even a bit of what director Olatunde Osunsanmi is throwing your way. All in all, it's not a bad flick—there are a few good spooky moments, Jovovich is pretty great as a woman on the edge, and Elias Koteas, who generally improves any movie he's in, plays her psychologist. Also a good thing: The Fourth Kind really made me want to rewatch Twin Peaks, what with all the owls and the woods. I've got both seasons, anyone want to bring over some pie?