Friday, November 6, 2009

"Fourth Kind" as painful as an actual alien abduction

After seeing the initial creepy trailer for the fourth kind, I thought "The Fourth Kind" might has some potential as the continuation of the "Blair With"-type movies but with aliens. But apparently it gets run into the ground by showing actual real footage... not sure how they screwed that up.

The new sci-fi abduction thriller The Fourth Kind should really be called 'The Fourth Wall', because right from the start the film consciously makes the choice to break that wall and have the actors talk directly to the audience as themselves. As the camera annoyingly spins around her, star Milla Jovovich walks right up to the lens and tells us that she will be playing a real life person, psychiatrist Abbey Tyler, who you’ll sometimes see on screen in purportedly “real video footage” of the incidents portrayed. Jovovich then warns us that what we’ll see is deeply disturbing, but the ultimate effect of all this explanation isn’t disturbance, it’s just distraction.

Writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi tries to convince us that the story is true by constantly using a split screen of the “real footage” next to his actors’ word for word reenactments. Unfortunately instead of making the film more chilling and unsettling, that technique just makes the whole thing obvious and theatrical: you’re always aware you’re watching a movie with actors and are never drawn into the mythology of the story.

The movie operates under dual assumption that you’ve either never seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind or The X Files, or that you’ll buy into this as an unofficial sequel to both. But the sad fact is that The Fourth Kind plays more like one of those cheesy alien documentaries you see on Discovery Channel, complete with low budget abduction vignettes intercut with the real victims interviews about what you’ve just seen. 

So basically I'm going to see middle-aged housewives complain about alien abductions? Forget about it, I'll just watch "Unsolved Mysteries."

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