You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe aliens built the Space Needle.
Look, we have no historical records of its creation. It's got the word "space" right there in its name. Plus just look at the thing: unless you like the idea of sleeping in a hammock slung between two girders, it's totally unfit for human habitation.
So aliens must exist, Q.E.D. Still, it's a little out there to think they're dropping in on us all the time, be it for experiments or just for yuks. Space is bigger than all our houses put together. Probability suggests we're not the only beings out there, but in our relatively sparse arm of the galaxy, our nearest neighbors could easily be hundreds of light-years away. Unless they've got Alien HBO, I doubt they'd want to make that trip, much as movies such as The Fourth Kind would like to convince us otherwise.
After the murder of her husband, psychologist Abbey Tyler (played both by "herself" and Milla Jovovich) continues his work treating the citizens of Nome, Alaska, several of whom suffer from the same strange visions and troubled sleep.
But when Jovovich hypnotizes one patient to find out what he really saw, he freaks out and shoots his family. She doesn't want to believe it, but they seem to be victims of alien abduction — and soon learns she is, too.
The Fourth Kind was marketed as a dramatized documentary of real events, crosscutting interviews and real footage with TV movie-style recreations of events. None of it's truly real, but I didn't know that when I watched it and I still walked out happy that someone else pays for my tickets, and not just because I'm so poor my dinner plans were to hitch a ride home, stick my head out the window and open my mouth really wide.
Because as creepy and distressing as a lot of that "real" footage is, it also interrupts the story like an automated interrupting machine. Drama is hard to come by in the first place when so much of what's happening is being summarized by a lady being interviewed because she's a fruit loop. In yanking us in and out of the real world and the dramatized one, the dreamlike state a good movie puts you in never has a chance to take hold.
It's a pretty questionable technique from writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi. He shows a lot of talent in other areas, though, especially the movie's sound: we never see the aliens, but we sure hear a hell of a lot of them, and they sound so scary I can only imagine they look like 12-tentacled monsters with a different power tool attached to the end of each arm.
Incredibly, the documentary visuals fuzz out whenever serious alien business is about to go down, but the audio paints a more frightening picture than video could.
Softened up by that, I wasn't quite ready to suspend my disbelief (just like during my three years in the deserts of Gujarat, India, I couldn't get over the levitation), but I was ready to send it to detention.
The more Tyler told her story, however, the more I realized that's all it was: The Fourth Kind has no outside commentary, no impartial experts or oppositional perspectives to help put its events in context. All we've got is a lot of weird shit explained by a woman who may not have been crazy at the time, but sure is now.
The movie's repeated exhortations to draw our own conclusions don't carry much weight when all we've got to draw on is a single side of the story delivered by a highly unreliable and repeatedly traumatized source. In some ways, it's better to learn the whole thing's made up. Then you can admire Osunsanmi for how he builds credulity instead of frowning on all the ways he strains it.