The Fourth Kind

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The Fourth Kind
The Fourth Kind.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOlatunde Osunsanmi
Screenplay byOlatunde Osunsanmi
Story byOlatunde Osunsanmi
Terry Lee Robbins
Produced byPaul Brooks
Joe Carnahan
StarringMilla Jovovich
Will Patton
Elias Koteas
CinematographyLorenzo Senatore
Edited byPaul Covington
Music byAtli Örvarsson
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • November 6, 2009 (2009-11-06)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$47.7 million[1]

The Fourth Kind is a 2009 American science fiction psychological thriller film[2] directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi and featuring a cast of Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Corey Johnson, Will Patton, Charlotte Milchard, Mia Mckenna-Bruce, Yulian Vergov, and Osunsanmi. The title is derived from the expansion of J. Allen Hynek's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the fourth kind denotes alien abductions.

The film is a pseudodocumentary - purporting to be a dramatic re-enactment of true events that occurred in Nome, Alaska - in which a psychologist uses hypnosis to uncover memories of alien abduction from her patients, and finds evidence suggesting that she may have been abducted as well. At the beginning of the film, Jovovich informs the audience that she will be playing a character based on a real person named Abigail Tyler, and that the film will feature archival footage of the real Tyler. The "Abigail Tyler" seen in the archival footage is played by Charlotte Milchard, and at various points throughout the film, the archival footage scenes and accompanying dramatic re-enactments are presented side by side.[3][4]

The film received negative reviews and grossed $47.7 million worldwide.[5]


In the film's present day, Chapman University hosts a televised interview with psychologist Dr. Abigail "Abbey" Tyler (Milla Jovovich/Charlotte Milchard). She describes a series of events that occurred in Nome, Alaska that culminate in an alleged alien abduction in October 2000.

In a re-enactment of events occurring in August 2000, Abbey's husband, Will (Yulian Vergov), is mysteriously murdered one night in his sleep, leaving her to raise their two children, Ashley (Mia Mckenna-Bruce) and Ronnie (Raphaël Coleman).

Abbey tapes hypnotherapy sessions with three patients who have the same experience: every night a white owl stares at them through their windows. Abbey hypnotizes two of them, and both recount similar terrifying stories of creatures attempting to enter their homes. Tommy Fisher (Corey Johnson), her first patient to go under hypnosis, refuses to admit what he sees and returns home. Later that night, Abbey is called by the police to Tommy's house, where she finds him holding his wife and their two children at gunpoint. He insists that he remembers everything and keeps asking what "Zimabu Eter" means. Despite Abbey's attempts to get Tommy to put his gun down, he shoots his family and turns the gun on himself.

After hearing the similarities in their stories, Abbey suspects these patients may have been victims of an alien abduction. There is evidence that she herself may have been abducted, when an assistant gives her a tape recorder which plays the sound of something entering her home and attacking her. The attacker speaks an unknown language, and Abbey has no memory of the incident. Abel Campos (Elias Koteas), a colleague from Anchorage, is suspicious of the claims. Later, Abbey calls upon Dr. Awolowa Odusami (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a specialist in ancient languages who was a contact of her late husband, to identify the mysterious language on the tape. Odusami identifies it as Sumerian.

Another, more willing patient named Scott (Enzo Cilenti) wishes to communicate. He admits that there was no owl and speaks of "them", but cannot remember anything further, but does say that he knows why Tommy did what he did. Later, he insists Abbey come to his home to hypnotize him, to get something seemingly horrific out of his head. While he is under hypnosis, he suddenly jerks upright and begins hovering above his bed, while a distorted electronic voice coming out of his mouth tells Abbey in Sumerian to immediately end her study. Later, Sheriff August (Will Patton) arrives, telling her that Scott had three upper vertebrae completely severed from his experience, and was completely paralyzed from the neck down. Believing Abbey is responsible, August tries to arrest her but Campos comes to her defense and confirms her story. August instead places her under guard inside her house.

The dash-cam footage of a police officer watching Abbey's house shows a large black triangular object flying into view. The video then distorts, but the officer is heard describing people being pulled out of the house and calls for backup. Deputies rush into the house, finding Ronnie and Abbey, the latter of whom is screaming that Ashley was taken into the sky. August, not believing in her abduction theory, accuses her of her daughter's disappearance and removes Ronnie from her custody. Ronnie goes with them willingly, not believing the abduction theory either.

Abbey undergoes hypnosis in an attempt to make contact with these beings and reunite with her daughter. Campos and Odusami videotape the session, and once hypnotized, it is revealed that Abbey witnessed the abduction of her daughter and also shows scenes of her own abduction, showing part of the abductors ship and it is hinted that they possibly took some human egg cells from Abbey as well. The camera scrambles, and Abbey begs the alien that abducted Ashley to return her. The creature replies, saying that Ashley will never be returned. It then calls itself the savior, then the father and finally ends with "I am ... God". When the encounter ends, Campos and Odusami rush over to the now unconscious Abbey and then notice something out of camera's view. The camera scrambles again, and a volatile voice yells "Zimabu Eter!". When the camera view clears it shows that all three of them are gone.

In the present, Abbey states that all three were abducted during that hypnosis session and no one has any memory of what happened.

The film returns to a re-enactment. Abbey wakes up in a hospital after breaking her neck in the abduction. There, August reveals that Will had actually committed suicide, meaning that Abbey's belief that he was murdered was merely a delusion. Later it is shown that Abbey is paralyzed in a wheelchair due to her neck injury.

In the present, Abbey is asked how anyone can take her claims of alien abduction seriously if she was proven to be delusional about her husband's death. Abbey states that she has no choice but to believe that Ashley is still alive. The interview ends as Abbey breaks down in tears.

In the film's epilogue, it states that Abbey was cleared of all charges against her, leaves Alaska for the East Coast, and her health has deteriorated to the point of requiring constant care. Campos remains a psychologist and Odusami becomes a professor at a Canadian university. Both men, as well as August, refuse to be involved with the interview, while Ronnie remains estranged from Abbey and still blames her for Ashley's disappearance. Ashley herself was never found.


In addition, Jovovich provides opening and dialogue as herself, setting the pretext of the pseudo-documentary's "true" events, while Charlotte Milchard, credited only for her role as a Nome resident, portrays the "real" Dr. Abigail Emily Tyler; as a further pretext of the pseudo-documentary, "Dr. Abigail Emily Tyler" is shown in the closing tombstone credits as having "appeared" in the film. During the fictional "real" footage, the interviewer is played by the director-screenwriter of this entire endeavour, Olatunde Osunsanmi.


This is the first major film by writer and director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who is a protégé of independent film director Joe Carnahan.[6] The movie is set up as a re-enactment of allegedly original documentary footage. It also uses supposedly "never-before-seen archival footage" that is integrated into the film.[7][4]

The Fourth Kind was shot in Bulgaria and Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The lush, mountainous setting of Nome in the film bears little resemblance to the actual Nome, Alaska, which sits amidst the fringes of the arctic tree line, where trees can only grow about 8 ft tall due to the permafrost on the shore of the Bering Sea.

To promote the film, Universal Pictures created a website with fake news stories supposedly taken from real Alaska newspapers, including the Nome Nugget and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The newspapers sued Universal, eventually reaching a settlement where Universal would remove the fake stories and pay $20,000 to the Alaska Press Club and a $2,500 contribution to a scholarship fund for the Calista Corporation.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

The Fourth Kind received mainly negative reviews from critics. The film currently has an 18% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 114 reviews. The site's consensus reads "While it boasts a handful of shocks, The Fourth Kind is hokey and clumsy and makes its close encounters seem eerily mundane." American critic Roger Ebert gave it one and a half stars out of four, comparing it unfavorably to Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, while praising Milla Jovovich's acting.[9]

According to the Anchorage Daily News, "Nomeites didn't much like the film exploiting unexplained disappearances of Northwest Alaskans, most of whom likely perished due to exposure to the harsh climate, as science fiction nonsense. The Alaska press liked even less the idea of news stories about unexplained disappearances in the Nome area being used to hype some "kind" of fake documentary".[10]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called the film "rote and listless."[11]

CNN reviewer Breanna Hare criticized The Fourth Kind for "marketing fiction as truth". Nome, Alaska Mayor Denise Michels called it "Hollywood hooey". According to Michels, "people need to realize that this is a science fiction thriller". Michels also compared the film to The Blair Witch Project, saying, "we're just hoping the message gets out that this is supposed to be for entertainment."[12]


  1. ^ The Fourth Kind. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "'The 4th Kind' Banners Go Through Step by Step - Bloody Disgusting".
  3. ^ Wainio, Wade. "Sci-Fi: The Fourth Kind may bend truth, but it also bends minds". FanSided (Minute Media). Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b Woerner, Meredith. "Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?". Gizmodo. Gizmodo. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Box Office Mojo: The Fourth Kind". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  6. ^ "Milla Gets a Thriller". Wired News. 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  7. ^ Tyler, Josh (2009-08-13). "The Fourth Kind Trailer: A Movie For Believers". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  8. ^ Richardson, Jeff (2008-11-11). "Alaska newspapers, movie studio reach settlement over 'Fourth Kind'". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 4, 2009). The Fourth Kind (review). Chicago Sun-Times
  10. ^ Medred, Craig. "'The Fourth Kind' pays for telling a big fib". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  11. ^ Entertainment Weekly November 20, 2009 pg. 71.
  12. ^ Hare, Breanna. "'The Fourth Kind' of fake?". CNN. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

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