The Fourth Kind's Media Devices Further Blur Line Between Reality, Fantasy

the_fourth_kind_poster-405x600Take a quick tour through the offices of Tanner Friedman and you may note a theme of interest. In our Tanner Friedman whiteboard brainstorm room, there hangs a framed tribute to “War of the Worlds”; nearby you’ll spot the front page of the 1947 Roswell Daily Record, which announced that the military had recovered a flying disc.

An interest in little green men? Rather, a fascination with the role that media has played over the years in determining fact vs. fiction. In 1939, Orson Welles and his Halloween broadcast blurred, for the first time, news and entertainment, airing a radio play presented as a mock news broadcast.  Later, in Roswell, the Army/Airforce actually issued and then recanted a press release reporting a strange, possibly otherworldly discovery; later holding a press conference to further reiterate its changed position.

Of a similar but newly unique vein is the alien abduction movie, “The Fourth Kind,” released in late 2009 and now available on DVD. And, where “Blair Witch Project,” “Cloverfields” and even last year’s “Paranormal Activity” utilized handheld cameras and purported initially to be ‘real’, “The Fourth Kind” does something no other movie of this genre has done before: tells you up front that what you are about to watch actually took place (and we have the film to prove it).

At the movie’s very opening, in fact, actress Milla Jovich informs the audience that she is playing the role Dr. Abigail Tyler, a one-time psychiatrist, and that the film tells the true story of events taking place in recent years, investigated by the FBI, in Nome, Alaska.  Interspersed throughout, further, is footage of who is purported to be the actual Dr. Tyler, interviewed by writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi.

What is perhaps most interesting and different about this particular film, though, is the use of a split screen which shows actors recreating scenes side-by-side with what is represented to be actual video footage—both police (from squad car cameras) and patient hypnosis documentation. The end result is disturbing, chilling and compelling. And in today’s world of reality TV, YouTube and multi-media in general, who’s to tell what is real and what is not.

Give this one “two thumbs” up and an index finger to scratch your head with.