DVD review by SHARON K. GILBERT
FOR those who aren’t familiar with J. Alan Hynek’s hierarchy of alien encounter classification, let me run through them quickly to get us started.
1.Close Encounter of the First Kind is sighting a UFO.
2.Close Encounter of the Second Kind is finding evidence on the ground such as a crop circle or scorch marks.
3.Close Encounter of the Third Kind is ‘contact’ with an alien.
4.Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind is ABDUCTION.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, we’ll take a look at the 2009 film “The Fourth Kind”, written and directed by Olatunde Osunsammi, We’re told up front that the story is based on true events that occurred in or near Nome, Alaska; this is, however, questionable. So-called ‘archived footage’ is interspersed with ‘recreations’ to lend credibility to this premise.
The central character, called ‘Dr. Abigail Tyler’, a worn out wraith of a woman, tells her story in a series of ‘amateur’ videos, most supposedly shot by Tyler’s colleague and personal psychiatrist, Abel Compos. This ‘real’ Tyler is played by Charlotte Milchard, whose name appears in the DVD and Blu-Ray disc credits as a ‘Nome resident’ (see Milchard’s photo and filmography here at the Internet Movie Database). The recreation version of Tyler is portrayed by Milla Jojovich (Heroes, Ultraviolet, Resident Evil).
Without getting into too many spoilers, the basic premise is that Tyler (a psychologist living in Nome) has recently lost her husband in a tragic murder. Their young daughter has hysterical blindness due to the loss of her father, and Tyler’s son (the eldest of the two children) has grown distrustful of his mother. The film opens with Tyler in session with Compos, undergoing hypnosis in an effort to recall what ‘really happened’ the night of her husband’s murder. [Here, Osunsammi begins a series of distracting side by side edits ('archived footage' against 'recreation') that I found distracting at best.]
While under, Tyler describes a bloody knife attack in the privacy of the couple’s bedroom late at night, but she cannot recall the murderer’s face. While under, Tyler panics, screaming violently as a deep memory resurfaces, but Compos quickly snaps her back to reality and the deep memory disappears.
A change of scene and one solo plane flight later, Tyler returns to her own practice, where one of several night terror patients awaits. Abigail’s patients have their own ‘deep memories’ to dig up, and each remembers seeing a white owl that watches them during their sleepless nights. Tyler puts patient one (Tommy) under hypnosis only to discover that he, too, panics as ‘true’ memories surface. (more…)