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The Fourth Kind movie review

An artifice of alien abductions

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Published: 9 November 2009 (GMT+10)
The fourth kind

Spoiler alert

In reviewing this movie it will be necessary to reveal some of the details and conclusion of the film’s premise. If you do not want to know this before seeing the movie then do not read on. However, my view would be that given this particular movie’s disturbing subject matter, one would do well to be pre-equipped before watching.

Some members of the CMI-US staff based in Atlanta, Georgia, were privileged to attend a special private pre-screening in order that we could write a review to coincide with the imminent release of this movie. As one of very few Christians unraveling the ever-growing UFO phenomenon I had already conducted four radio interviews just two days prior to this screening, with more interviews for radio and even TV lined up in the next few weeks, all related to this subject matter. In addition, I have received numerous emails from people enquiring about the validity of this movie’s premise.

Why all the sudden interest from the Christian media? In the United States, where this movie will be initially released, there has been a flood of movie pre-hype, advertizing, such as YouTube clips outlining the movie’s premise. And the marketing message was very clear: “We are presenting a docu-drama based upon real events, real case studies and real archival footage to demonstrate that people really are being abducted by aliens.” However, after watching the movie, that particular claim was not really validated. What was clear is that the trailers’ claims were a tad deceptive, as no “real” footage of people being abducted by any entity whatsoever was shown.

A scary movie

Being late at night, the virtually empty cinema had a strange spookiness about it even before the movie began. But the atmosphere was about to get a lot chillier as the lead actress Milla Jovovich (who has previously starred in science fiction and horror movies like The Fifth Element—Resident Evil) appeared on screen playing herself. She stated that although she would be playing the part of “real life” psychologist Dr Abigail Emily Tyler, the movie would be interspersed with real footage of interviews with patients and police video of events that besieged the small Alaskan town of Nome. Such forthright statements were clearly intended to lead the viewers along the path of belief that the producers want them to tread.

Next we see the alleged real Tyler undergoing hypnotic regression at the hands of a fellow psychiatrist. The screen then divides with actress Jovovich on one half accurately reenacting the same scene at the same time and word for word. This was the pattern throughout most of the movie. This was a very clever ploy by the movie’s makers, because on the occasions when Jovovich was not sharing the screen with footage of Tyler, it gave the viewer the impression that every last detail of the script was based upon factual occurrences. To avoid confusion as I go forward if I mention a single person’s name, such as Jovovich or Tyler, it means that the person was appearing alone on the screen, but if you see Jovovich/Tyler together it means that the screen was split between alleged real footage of Tyler (or events recorded by her) and the actress (Jovovich) playing her, or even switching back and forth between the two.

owl
The white owl imagery used repeatedly in the movie.

Tyler’s/Jovovich’s regression is an attempt to relive the night surrounding her husband’s death, which she believes was at the hands of a murderer. However, during such therapy she is always unable to see the face of the killer. The death of her husband has caused unresolved trauma not only in her own life but the lives of her teenage son and young daughter. Afterwards, Jovovich returns to her own clinical practice in Nome and we see Tyler/Jovovich interviewing a succession of patients who are all suffering the same “sleep terrors”. They are unable to consciously recall what is actually occurring to them with the exception of a common image—that of a white owl appearing at their window. So Tyler/Jovovich regress one of the patients, who, while under hypnosis, relives a terrifying ordeal—so disturbing that he does not wish to share the details with even his own counselor. Later that evening we witness the same patient murdering his own wife and children (reenacted and with allegedly real police footage, which created a disturbing sense of realism) because he wants to spare them from undergoing the same horrific experiences he had.

Hypnosis is not valid testimony

As mentioned in my book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, the practice of hypnotic regression is commonly used by UFO researchers due to the belief that the subconscious mind can recall events that one cannot remember while conscious. Of course there is much debate in the Christian community about hypnosis and it is not my intention to discuss the spiritual merits or otherwise of same. However, it is well-known that past events can indeed be unlocked by such practices. But a major problem is that the hypnotist cannot know for sure if real actual events are being recalled. This is because it is also now well-known that one’s mind or imagination can create false memories. Children who naturally have fertile imaginations are adept at this of course, but unresolved trauma in one’s life can also create alternate imagined scenarios that one might eventually believe to be true. Once such past events are recalled, often there can ensue a kind of self-reinforcement and self-delusion. Most people do this anyway, to some extent, during their normal waking lives. Stories of the past get added to and then repeated often enough until they can become “truth” in a person’s life. Another problem is that the hypnotist themselves can, either intentionally or inadvertently, through suggestion create an imaginary scenario or event in a patient’s mind. Once the suggestion is planted the imagination and the mind can do the rest.

Tyler

The continued regression of the inhabitants of Nome reveals that they believe they are being visited by entities in the middle of the night and that such entities are performing grotesque experiments on them. It is during this splicing of footage and reenactments that we see the alleged transmogrification of people into contorted shapes as they scream with ear-piercing terror. I have seen several regressions of alleged abductees and they do suffer induced traumatization as a result of the regression. This is because they are reliving an experience that they really do believe was an alien abduction. But to date, as a researcher of this phenomenon, I have never seen or read of any accounts where a patient/victim while under regression levitates, or has their body twisted violently and bones broken as portrayed in the movie. Although it was the producer’s intention to have us believe that residents of Nome were undergoing alien abductions, the types of incidents that occurred during the alleged regression of patients in this movies actually reveals otherwise. The fact is that many people all over the world are indeed undergoing experiences, but it is not with alien beings from another planet or extradimensional universe. When people recount the details of their experiences, and even the ones portrayed in this movie, it is clear that they represent spiritual experiences. It really looked like it—the attacks seemed to be inflicted by non-visible beings. The alleged footage of the regression of abductees was extremely similar to demonic possession and reminiscent of the incident in Mark 9:17–26, where Jesus healed a young boy who was possessed by an evil spirit. On exorcizing the spirit we are told that:

“The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’”

Nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

The examples shown in this movie (although not real—see later) were similar in their morphology to supposedly “real” alien abductions, and these “real” experiences are very similar to real spiritual ones. For example, this movie implies that people are in fact possessed by aliens who entered bedrooms through the ceilings or walls, and that the abductees left via the same method. Such actions defy the very laws of physics. In addition, we are shown that the experiencers are supposed to have painful drills and probes inserted into them yet show no signs of having such procedures. But instead of being able to see that such things are an illusory spiritual deception that is being planted into the minds of experiencers to create the “reality” the movie’s producers, and indeed, the majority of the world’s UFO researchers, defer to some unknown advanced technology or force that aliens “must” possess because they are older and smarter on the evolutionary scale.

The whole premise of advanced extraterrestrial life is based upon the theory of evolution, because if life evolved on the earth then it must have evolved elsewhere and possibly millions of years before humankind. And thus, this is why they have such advanced technology that is indistinguishable from “magic”. The Bible makes it clear that non-believers are incapable of discerning spiritual things. The Apostle Paul wrote:

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

It’s a worldview issue

All this once again demonstrates how one’s view of origins will shape the way we interpret “all evidence”, everything from fossils in the ground, to distant starlight and even the strange occultic experiences that people are having in their bedrooms. The movie also takes potshots at the Christian faith. It shows Jovovich praying with her children before a meal, but later, when trying to understand the reason for the awful events in her life she looks up and asks (God), “Why?” She discovers that her husband was also trying to unravel the Nome mystery and she stumbles across a book about ancient Sumerian clay tablets. She enlists the help of the author of the book and he discovers from an audio recording of one of the abductions that the entities speak this ancient Sumerian language. He also claims that the tablets’ creation account predates the Bible’s Genesis account of creation and that its account of Noah’s Flood was taken originally from these same tablets. This false analogy comes straight out of the writings of famous UFO-believer Zechariah Sitchin, a self proclaimed expert on these tablets who claims that human beings’ creators are aliens known in these Sumerian texts as the Anunnaki ,which the Bible records as Anakim. (See Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection for more on this).

Movies and the media are a powerful medium. Many people don’t realize that when we watch such “information” we are actually giving permission for the teller of the tale to tell us their story and even their version of the truth. It’s a bit like saying, “Ok, so tell me your story—I’m here because I want to hear it”. It makes one inclined to believe what one is being told.

The truth about the movie

At the risk of receiving hatemail from the many UFO-believing wannabees around the world, and for brevity’s sake, I simply state here that I have discovered the following facts about this “truthful” docu-drama.

  • There was no rash of alleged alien abductions in Nome, Alaska. There was a spate of disappearances of individuals. Most cases were solved and the FBI concluded that it was not the work of a serial killer, but the combination of being a town with high alcohol consumption and very cold winters. You can read the official report from The Anchorage Daily News here. [This article has been removed since we posted our review, but you can view another newspaper report here], or this Wikipedia report that indicates the movie was entirely fictional.
  • Dr Abigail Tyler is a fictitious person. There is no record of her having worked in Nome, Alaska.
  • The producers have not provided any evidence to support their claims of real cases, archival footage etc.
  • Statements by officials in Nome deny any such occurrences as depicted in the movie ever took place.
  • The movie claims to have changed the names of the characters (including the police officers involved) for their own protection, and at the end of the movie it states that these persons declined to be interviewed or take part in the movie. This is very convenient, because it prohibits anyone from checking on the validity of the alleged events or event interviews. It also adds to the conspiratorial notions that silence means culpability.
  • Supposed news-type websites have suddenly appeared on the internet claiming to authenticate the premise and the characters in the movie, and particularly the person of Abigail Tyler (even a dummy website listing her biography). Some researchers have discovered that many of these sites were constructed in a matter of weeks and just before the movie’s publicity started to roll off the line. This is a method known as 'Internet footprinting'.
  • It appears that the movie is a complete work of fiction, although drawing to an extent from abduction folklore. The method of claiming that the realistic, almost home-movie style footage of interviews is genuine is very similar to the tactics used in movies such as The Blair Witch Project and The Alien Autopsy documentary.

The climax of the movie reveals that Tyler/Jovovich herself is an abductee. During one experience her young daughter is also abducted by aliens and never returned. While undergoing regression to retrace the event, she relives an awful abduction experience that reveals further details about what is really happening. But the regression permanently damages Tyler/Jovovich physically and emotionally, who is subsequently told that her husband was not murdered but committed suicide—likely due to the similar experiences he appeared to have suffered. Apparently Tyler/Jovovich knew this all along but had blocked it from her subconscious because it was simply too painful to deal with. We are told that she is insane, and thus, this leaves the viewer with some doubt that any of what occurred to her was real. The final scenes are played out with Tyler, wheelchair bound, being interviewed by the movie’s real-life screenplay writer and director at Chapman University (a real university, but like the points above they have denied ever conducting such interviews or even knowing Tyler). The portrayal of the scarred Tyler is harrowing, though. Although this may be a fictional account, the reality of such seriously damaged people is only too evident to those involved in abduction research. It is the real evidence of altered and broken lives that is only too recognizable as the fruit of the evil one using such deceptive and destructive practices to spite His Creator and turn the very subjects that God loves away from Him. Sadly, this fact is lost on secular researchers. Amazingly, the last scene with Tyler is extremely revealing. Her interviewer asks, “You said they claim to be God” (one entity was recorded saying these words in the movie). Tyler responds and says, “No, they pretend to be.”

A grand illusion

Milla Jovovich
Actor Milla Jovovich plays Dr Abigail Emily Tyler.

People are not being abducted by aliens.
Nor have advanced extraterrestrial races evolved on other planets.
Nor has God created such races of extraterrestrials. However, many people are having real experiences at the hands of deceptive fallen angels and demons. These entities are creating an elaborate charade that undergirds (and is undergirded by) the theory of evolution which also undermines God’s rightful place as King of the universe. The experience can be real, but the charade is not. As some well-known Christian commentators also noted:

“… how credible is it to think that literally thousands of extraterrestrials would fly millions or billions of light-years simply to teach New Age philosophy, deny Christianity, and support the occult. . . . Why would they consistently lie about things which we know are true, and why would they purposefully deceive their contacts?”1

All reading this should empathize with the trauma such people are undergoing. Many have never been to a church, never read a Bible and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. As such, they are prone to deception, and movies such as The Fourth Kind are only going to reinforce alien abduction theories and make people more vulnerable to such deceptions because of their lack of spiritual discernment. This area of spiritual warfare should be “bread and butter” for the church. It grieves me that many leaders do not know how to reach, and are not even willing to try and understand what is happening to, these people. A loving church that could embrace and explain this phenomenon will have people turning up at its door for answers. Unfortunately, most experiencers that I have met have felt shunned by the church. Instead, they seek the assistance of those in the UFO community who, sadly, will only reinforce the lie that they are being visited by highly evolved benevolent beings from another planet.

A theory in progress

For the last few years I have been developing an abduction hypnosis theory to account for the seeming details that people report about their experiences. Just like in this movie, most of those details are only ever recounted under hypnosis, the very same method that can be used to plant such ideas in the first place. At the request of supporters over the years, the next edition of Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection (its fifth printing, due out in the first half of 2010) will include an enlarged and expanded section on this theory. Indeed, many who watched the movie with me commented that the portrayals on the screen were like pages out of my book.

In addition to the received comments posted below, two letters were received which Gary Bates has responded to in some depth in our weekly feedback article Reaction to CMI’s review of The Fourth Kind

At CMI our hope is that the church will see that this origins issue is central to virtually every aspect of someone’s belief systems. Beliefs about where we came from will ultimately shape someone’s worldview about the meaning of life, whether there is any life after this one, and even whether we are the only inhabited planet in the universe. The Bible and this website has answers to all these questions.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Postscript

As suspected by the author (Gary Bates/above), Universal created fake online news articles and obituaries to make it appear that the movie was based upon real events. Since this article was published news services revealed that Universal Pictures agreed to a $20,000 settlement with the Alaska Press Club “to settle complaints about fake news archives used to promote the movie” and also contributed $25,000 to a scholarship fund.1

  1. The Fourth Kind, www.imdb.com/title/tt1220198/faq. See also Universal’s Fourth Kind Marketing Campaign Backfires, http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/11/universals_fourth_kind_marketi.html, 26 December, 2011.


Reference

  1. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on UFO’s and OtherSupernatural Phenomena (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers,1992), p. 8. Return to text.

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