It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Boy, is the Nome, Alaska, Chamber of Commerce going to be pissed off when it sees "The Fourth Kind." You don't wanna go there. You can't drive there, that's for sure. The only ways in are by sea, air, dogsled or birth canal. Why the aliens chose this community of 9,261 to abduct so many people is a mystery. Also why owls stare into bedroom windows.
Nome has been the center of an alarming series of strange disappearances, we learn. So many, the FBI has sent agents there 10 times more than to the much bigger Anchorage. "The Fourth Kind" is based on the testimony of a psychologist who found, circa 2000, that many of her patients reported waking at 3 a.m. with the sense that something was wrong and seeing an owl with its eyes on them.
The film goes to great lengths to be realistic. "I am the actress Milla Jovovich," Jovovich tells us at the outset, explaining that in the film she plays the psychologist Abigail Tyler, whose testimony was videotaped. Other fact-based characters are her colleague (Elias Koteas), the local sheriff (Will Patton) and a professor who interviews her (Olatunde Osunsanmi). "Every scene in this movie is supported by archived footage," she says, and to prove it, Osunsanmi, who's also the director, uses split screen to show Jovovich and the real Abigail talking almost simultaneously. The real psychologist's name has been changed, but since she's right there on the screen, how much of a mystery can she be in Nome?
It was with crushing disappointment that my research discovered this is all made up out of whole cloth, including the real Abigail. The film wasn't even shot in Nome, but mostly in Bulgaria. And Dallas Massie, a retired state trooper who's the acting police chief in Nome, says he's heard nothing about aliens.