There Is No Owl

October 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is exciting — it’s my first time reviewing a movie before its actual release date! Last night I had the chance to go see a free pre-screening of The Fourth Kind, which is basically an alien thriller based on what appear to be facts.

I normally avoid scary movies like the plague, but the “based on true events” part intrigued me — aliens can’t be that scary, right? — and I hadn’t seen the trailers for this film, so I had no idea what to expect.

The Fourth Kind starts with actress Milla Jovovich actually addressing the audience, telling us that the film is based on actual audio and visual footage collected by psychiatrist Dr. Abigail Tyler, whose work and recollections fuel the plot. These “recovered” videos are actually interspersed throughout the film, giving it a feel of weighty reality but also serving as a constant reminder that we are simply watching these people act out a story.

The first half plays out like one of those ghost-hunter shows on TV that I sometimes find myself sucked into — they never fail to disappoint. I’ve never seen the discovery of an actual poltergeist in those haunted houses or abandoned prisons; those shows are mostly flashy video-editing and re-enactments of grisly murders and the like. I kept waiting for actual action to occur. With the constant splicing of “original” audio and video, the film also felt more like a docu/mockumentary than actual movie.

The Fourth Kind also attempted to make white owls the next girl-with-long-black-hair-crawling-out-of-a-well. Sorry, but that kind of kitschy enterprise simply will not work with blurry close-up shots of Hedwig.

Once the film gets past the drawn-out expository dialogue, the disturbing stuff develops in spurts. Suicide, levitation, possession and — of course — abduction led to an inconclusive ending and overall freaky film. I would say more, but I don’t want to spoil it.

I’m skeptical as to how much to believe. Despite the insistence that these events were real, we must remember that film directors are not journalists, and they have no obligation to differentiate truth from an ad campaign. Still, my first inclination was to believe [but I’m pretty gullible]. Somebody that sits through this entire film laughing is not fully appreciating it. I’m pretty perturbed by the images that have stamped onto my mind, and I kind of wish I hadn’t watched this film. Wimpy people such as myself should stay away from The Fourth Kind: in theaters Nov. 6!



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