Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Elias Koteas
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
In "The Fourth Kind," Hollywood's latest real-time chiller/thriller offering in the style of such flicks as "The Blair Witch Project," "Cloverfield" and current box-office fave "Paranormal Activity," there's an ongoing plot point in which Nome, Alaska psychologist Abigail Emily Tyler (Milla Jovovich) is using hypnosis with several of her patients in order to help them block a horrific repressed memory, an indescribable vision.
My gut feeling tells me that their horrific vision may very well involve the first time they screened "The Fourth Kind," an instant frontrunner for Razzie consideration with its absurdly silly storyline, truly horrific performances across the board, overwhelming dependence on hand-held cinematography and what may very well qualify as the year's worst original score.
Dr. Tyler is attempting to pick up the pieces after the tragic death of her husband, who'd recently been researching potential alien abductions in the Nome, Alaska area. Dr. Tyler is left with two children, the youngest of whom has reportedly resorted to Conversion Disorder that has left her visually impaired. Determined to continue her husband's work, Dr. Tyler begins playing connect the dots between her patients, and in rather short order the tragedies begin to pile up including a family murder/suicide, a patient ends up paralyzed and Dr. Tyler's own youngest daughter disappears. Soon, Dr. Tyler is being harassed by the local sheriff (Will Patton), supported ever so slightly by a fellow psychologist (Elias Koteas) and aided by an expert in languages (Hakeen Kae-Kazim), who partially interprets indecipherable audio recorded during Tyler's own abduction and determines it to be ancient Sumerian.
Rumored to ever so slightly based upon real life theories about an inordinate number of disappearances in the Nome, Alaska area, "The Fourth Kind" essentially plays as a double take by using MIlla Jovovich and real "actors" in a reenactment of the several years of mysterious occurrences from 2000-2006 while incorporating archival footage of interviews with the "real" Dr. Tyler and other characters within the film. The only problem? It's actually all a lie, a pure and simple marketing device concocted by a hack writer/director said to be a protege' of Joe Carnahan, who signed on as one of the film's producers.
Jovovich, who showed a glimpse of acting ability in early 2009's "A Perfect Getaway," is simply awful here with an over-the-top to the point of outright hilarious performance that had multiple audience members laughing during what was supposed to be some of the high suspense scenes in "The Fourth Kind."
Sadly, Jovovich's performance isn't even the weakest one in the film. The honor for the film's weakest performance belongs to Will Patton, whose hammy, nonsensical and laughably stilted performance is matched only by the godawful character development and cardboard dialogue served up by Osunsamni.
Elias Koteas, whose character seems meant to represent the doubting Thomas who can't quite accept that he's had an "encounter," nearly lifts the film up to a D or D- threshold, but it's simply impossible to forgive or forget the sheer inadequacy of every other aspect of the film.
Tech credits aren't just weak but downright annoying, particularly the aforementioned hand-held camera work of Lorenzo Senatore and Atli Orvarsson's non-stop thundering, dare I say pendulous, excuse of an original score.
Audiences have clearly proven time and again that the "real time" thriller is a marketable concept, and somewhere within this chaotic crap circle lies a decent idea for a film. Unfortunately, "The Fourth Kind" feels like it was quickly thrown together to capitalize on the success of "Paranormal Activity," and yet the crew of "Paranormal Activity" accomplished far more with a $15,000 budget than ever occurs at any given moment in "The Fourth Kind."
The "First Kind" is when you see a UFO.
The "Second Kind" is when you find evidence of it.
The "Third Kind" is when you make contact.
The "Fourth Kind," said to be the most terrifying kind, is when you are abducted.
Oh, but wait.
There's a "Fifth Kind."
The "Fifth Kind" is when you're stupid enough to spend your hard earned cash to view what is easily one of 2009's worst films and a surefire Razzie nominee for Worst Picture. Once you've experienced the "Fifth Kind," alien abduction is a piece of cake.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic