I know that being abducted by aliens isn't supposed to be a picnic but to watch The Fourth Kind is to learn just how bad aliens - or at least believing in aliens - can fuck up your life. Milla Jovovich plays a real-life psychologist in Nome, Alaska who has some pre-existing issues of her own, thanks to her husband's mysterious death. When her patients begin to tell her similar stories about a white owl that visits them at night, she decides that a little hypno-therapy should sort 'em out. Well, that's when people really begin to lose their shit. It's suggested by one character after a particularly tragic episode that maybe hypnotizing these patients isn't such a smooth move but Jovovich's character doesn't want to hear that. Eventually her persistence bites her in the ass. She should've been a Kenny Rogers fan. If she had been, she would've known when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and for damn sure know when to run.
The Fourth Kind is reportedly based on true events but I'm too lazy to look into verifying that. Sans any fact-checking, I'm going to guess that it's all bullshit. Not just the alien stuff, because that's a given. I just hope the whole movie is an elaborate put-on, including the 'real' footage that plays in tandem with the reenactments. If this is really based on documented cases, this is one depressing movie. Not creepy, just depressing. I don't believe in aliens but I do believe that disturbed people can lose themselves in paranoid fantasies and never find their way back. If you're going to make a movie about alien abductions, don't be ambiguous about whether aliens exist or not. I'm sure they don't exist in real life, but at least have the characters in a movie about aliens not seem so sad and crazy.
Even though it's strongly suggested in The Fourth Kind that aliens were - and still are! - at work in Nome, Alsaka, the evidence is too wishy-washy. Director Olatunde Osunsanmi leaves the decision up to us what we take away from the 'facts' that his movie presents. That may be admirable from a journalistic stand-point but personally, I think some exaggeration of the facts and maybe even some outright fabrication was needed. We're talking about flying saucers here, not an expose of the banking industry. Jovovich and the rest of the cast (especially Will Patton as a sheriff at the end of his wits) are all good but right up until its conclusion, The Fourth Kind doesn't have any real cards to play. It just sputters out, leaving nothing but wrecked lives.
When I was a kid, stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and aliens all scared me but also filled me with a sense of wonder. When I saw a movie like The Mysterious Monsters (1976), reportedly based on true testimony, or watched an (ahem!) 'investigative' show like In Search Of (1976-1982), it made me dream about what was out there, undiscovered in the world or the universe. But the only speculation The Fourth Kind encourages is about what kind of anti-depressants its most traumatized characters must be on. Whatever meds they're taking, I hope they're out of this world.