Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
If there were a low point of viral movie marketing last decade, consider 2009’s The Fourth Kind the Mariana Trench.
This smugly self-congratulatory, perilously slow, clumsily scripted tale of alien abduction presented itself as a reenactment of events supported by “factual” audiovisual evidence.
Star Milla Jovovich directly addresses the audience at the outset, saying, “Some of what you are about to see is extremely disturbing.” If by that Jovovich means a “true-life” horror film dumber and more dubious than White Noise, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Haunting in Connecticut combined.
The title refers to the four levels of alien interaction, and the pedestrian plotting on display proved that Steven Spielberg stopped at the right one. Jovovich plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, a supposedly real person whose sleep study in Nome, Alaska supposedly uncovered an ancient alien’s abduction activity.
The Fourth Kind is what happens when executives get viral-marketing fever, hallucinating dollar signs behind flimsy premises. “ACTUAL AUDIO” and “ACTUAL VIDEO” are stamped over distorted footage. If someone slapped a “REAL DIAMONDS” sticker on a 25-cent plastic ring from a vending machine, you’d call shenanigans, too.
If director / co-writer Olatunde Osunsanmi’s “found” footage was filmed in 2000, as time codes suggest, it clearly was a student-film precursor to this feature-length nonsense. And, in an era of balloon boys and Paranormal Activity (a comparative gem), Osunsanmi should’ve concocted a hookier hoax or a climactic “twist” that made one iota of sense. The truth is out there: This was awful.