The Fourth Kind falters

“The Fourth Kind” is a difficult film to get your mind wrapped around. It is certainly frightening, but the full effects only set in hours after viewing. “The Fourth Kind” focuses on believability and widespread appeal, but in the process forgets to tell a story.

It is an original film: the creators have pieced together archived footage-of course its authenticity cannot be guaranteed, as it could simply be a convincing style-alongside filmed reenactments with actors. While this method is novel and does wonders to establish the events in the film as true, it makes the film disjointed at best and annoying at worst. The filmmakers should have settled on a documentary or a horror film, not some clumsy Frankenstein combination.

The film spends so much time grounding itself in reality in fact that it entirely forgets to keep up a plot. Of course frightening mystique results from unresolved conflict, but the conflict could have at least been a bit more tangible or definable. Then again, the indescribable nature of extra-terrestrial phenomena has always been a staple of the genre, so it really comes down to whether you prefer horrifying answers or the pure terror that comes from having only disturbing questions.

By refusing to give any answers whatsoever, the film leaves itself open for interpretation by the viewers. This openness and lack of resolution is what brings the full effects of terror to audiences, hours after the theatre, as they lie in bed fathoming the horrors that may visit them in their sleep. The film does not offer viewers any solace when they awaken unscathed the next morning, as it raises the observation of how easily we forget traumatic events. The questions as to the truth of memory are sure to keep more than a few members of the audience on edge for days after seeing the film.

In its sum, “The Fourth Kind” barely presents anything new to abduction stories. The basic events are similar to plenty of other films, and the filming style is choppy, although an admirable attempt at innovation. But the true genius of the film lays in the question it raises: “How can I be sure this isn’t already happening to me?”

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