Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Fourth Kind (2009)

It might be hard for the haters out there to understand, but Olatunde Osunsanmi's The Fourth Kind was probably the most unknown sleeper hit of 2009. Made for around 10 million dollars, it earned 42 million in cinemas and probably even a lot more on DVD and Blu-Ray. I can understand why, because this is a really nice little abduction-themed sci-fi thriller, and it also has a confusing premise that even made me suspicious from the beginning. What we have here is a movie that mixes real footage (of interviews, police cameras) with reenactments of events, and it begins with Milla Jovovich introducing the movie telling us that everything is real and later real footages mixes with new film footage with Milla and a bunch of other great actors.

But everything is fake. Everything. And this is very well made. The video footage from the hypnosis sessions, the police camera stuff... it looks almost to real. You all know how ugly people look in the vacation video? It's the same here, nothing that indicates acting, special lighting or direction. Just very naturalistic. The film footage with Milla Jovovich as Dr. Abbey Tyler is very good, and it's miles from what the director created in his universally hated The Cavern. This looks and feels like a totally different director, and it's stylish and expensive.

The story is that the really Dr. Abbey Tyler discovers that a lot of people in Nome, Alaska, is experiencing the same sleeping disorders. Everything gets more creepy when they all wake up and see an owl outside the window. But during hypnosis they start to tell more, about something that's entering their homes and abducting them... We see this story first and most with Milla as the good doctor, but it's intercut with the research footage. Other good actors like Will Patton, Elias Koteas and Corey Johnson also portrays the locals.

Osunsanmi manages to create a chilling and tense story, that sometimes gets quite creepy. There's some footage in the end that of course is fake, but is strange and disturbing with small means. When Tyler gets more and more involved in the mystery of Nome, we also start rooting for her even more and more, and when she gets in trouble with the police (because of course they don't believe her stories about UFO abductions) it's hard to watch her getting weaker and weaker from the pressure. Much has to do with Jovovich and the other actors excellent work, but the location with miles of forest and and huge mountains makes it eerie.

The Fourth Kind might now win any Oscars, but it's still a really good found footage-movie (kinda anyway) with excellent directing and acting. Well worth a watch. Or two.

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