Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on November 6, 2009
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by Olatunde Osunsanmi
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Charlotte Milchard, Corey Johnson, Hakeem Kai-Kazim, Enzo Cilenti, Eric Loren, Daphne Alexander, Alisha Seaton, Olatunde Osunsanmi
There’s a scene from the science fiction movie Signs—where Joaquin Phoenix watches a home video clip of a children’s birthday party, and where an alien being is seen creeping around outside a house while frightened kids and parents run from window to window inside—that was so realistic, it proved to be more chilling to me than any other moment from the film. The scene was only a minute long, yet later had me remembering Signs as a more memorable film than it actually was.
I thought about this scene while watching The Fourth Kind, and wondered if the same thing was happening again: the segments of actual videotaped hypnosis sessions and police videocam footage were freaking me out more than the film itself, and thus were skewing my overall impression of the film as well. However, two things occurred that slapped me back to my senses: first, the movie’s storyline never peaked, and instead tailed off to an inconclusive ending, and second, I found out later that the entire presentation was nothing more than pure Hollywood fakery.
Admittedly, at first I was excited about where the movie was headed (a psychologist discovers and investigates a series of alien abductions in Nome, Alaska) and how it was executed (through interviews, video footage, and filmed scenes that were slow-building and tense), but that feeling was eventually spoiled by the knowledge that I had been unceremoniously duped. Film critic Roger Ebert, after discovering that the reality-based aspect of the film was a complete hoax, was hugely disappointed. Well Roger, trust me, so was I.
However, the creepy videotaped segments truly gave me goosebumps (and one scene still does: a nighttime shot from a police car, and the alien craft we see silently approach above the trees), and the film was entertaining enough for me in the long run…but the two friends I watched this with were far less impressed, and I think now the plot structure would’ve been better served by a straightforward story layout instead of a ‘documentary’ format, since it was a work of complete fiction anyway. Therefore, my rating is a well-intentioned but misguided five out of ten, for the shock value delivered by the video sequences, and how I felt before finding out it was all a bunch of baloney. (5/10)