A pseudo-docudrama that tries to document strange occurrences of alien abduction that may explain the unusually high number of deaths and disappearances of residents in Nome, Alaska. This is a postmodern movie that really takes the fiction/non-fiction blur to the next level. Whereas, Paranormal Activity plays the fake reality game of Blair Witch and Cloverfield, the “found footage” genre, that we all know is not real, but we pretend it is so it makes it seem scarier. But The Fourth Kind creates fake documentary footage and then tells us through the lead actress, Milla Jovavich AS Milla Jovavich and the director as himself that this is a movie that is recreating real documentary research by a real psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler (similar to an episode of Unsolved Mysteries). The director then juxtaposes “real documentary” footage of interviews next to the re-enactment with the actors to give the illusion that this really really happened and they are just re-enacting it. Wow, talk about taking the postmodern notion of everything being fiction to the next level. This movie lies to the audience in telling us this is a re-enactment and these are real tapes that they based their movie on. So it is a fiction of a fiction, a story of a story.
TFK uses all the formulaic elements of alien encounters that have been claimed to be true since the 1940s, assuming the classification used by Spielberg with his Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Only the Fourth Kind is not mere contact, but abduction, complete with butt probes and aliens with big owl eyes. But since they use the “found footage” documentary style, it becomes a focus on story over effects that we have come to be oversaturated with through the Spielberg phenomenon. This is another element that makes it seem more “real” is that it is not splashy or having any real effects. So this is all about what we do NOT see versus what we do see. In fact, even the videotaped abduction scenes become visually distorted (though strangely, not the audio ☺) due to the presence of the alien psychically in the body of the abuductee.
What I found most interesting was that the movie uses the cliché “Chariots of the Gods” ancient astronauts theory that the gods of prescientific cultures like the Sumerians, were simply aliens from space misinterpreted as “gods.” We are told of the hieroglyphs of the Sumerians that show rocketships and astronauts with breathing apparatuses, all the usual old crap. And during one taped sequence we discover that the beings that are taped entering Milla’s room speak in the ancient Sumerian dialect in “non-human” voices (are you following? – the Sumerians – the first writers of words, were taught language by these aliens). And the rough translations are incomplete and can only catch words like “Our creation… destroy,” and lastly and most importantly, “I am God.” Milla is shown praying to Jesus at the very beginning of the movie. Yet apart from these two ambiguous moments, NOT A SINGLE REFERENCE is made at all to the supernatural.
I am not sure if the filmmaker is aware of it or not, but everything that occurred, including the alien abduction moments of levitation and jerking around, Ancient PAGAN Sumerian voices, the alien language of claiming to be God, are all elements of demon possession. It’s almost as if he entirely missed a great twist that this is not alien abduction but demon possession. I say this because there is not a word of consideration in the entire movie that this could be supernatural, so I think he may not have realized that these are classic symptoms of demon possession. Instead he opts out for a mysterious ending of unexplained phenomenon under audio tapes of allegedly real UFO sightings. Great potential for a unique perspective on a cliché subject squandered with a dissatisfying ending of mystery.