The Fourth Kind Movie Poster Image

The Fourth Kind

Realistic alien abduction tale too violent/chilling for kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie aims to suggest that the "truth" about alien abductions is out there -- and that it's being covered up -- but it doesn't suggest a healthy or proactive way to go about proving or changing this situation. And if you conclude that the movie is a fake and a put-on, that undermines any kind of positive message it's trying to impart.

Positive role models

No real role models here. Dr. Abigail Tyler never really manages to help any of the people who are counting on her, and it's suggested that her behavior is unbalanced. A local cop behaves abhorrently and without much logic, and other characters are either inactive or victimized.


Early on, there's a stabbing with spurting blood. Later, a man murders his wife and children and takes his own life, though the footage is distant and blurry. Some of Dr. Abigail's patients behave violently and unpredictably under hypnosis; some of this behavior is spooky and/or shocking. As for the alien abductions, the movie suggests some of the violence and terror that goes on during them but shows very little.


During a flashback, Dr. Abigail is seen lying in bed with her husband very briefly (just before he's killed).


Characters keep a lid on particularly strong language (though there are a couple of uses of "s--t," "damn," and "hell"), but many terrified characters exclaim "God" in all different kinds of permutations ("Oh God," "Oh my God," "goddamn it," etc.).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi thriller from director Olatunde Osunsanmi mixes supposedly real footage of alien abductees with re-creations played out by actors (including Milla Jovovich and Will Patton). That mix makes it hard to know what to believe, and it could confuse or mislead overly trusting kids (be ready to talk about telling the difference between fact and fiction). Plus, in addition to an overall sense of dread, there are a couple of shockingly violent moments -- including a bloody stabbing and a blurry scene in which a man kills his wife and children and then himself -- that could scare the daylights out of some viewers.

What's the story?

Milla Jovovich appears as herself in THE FOURTH KIND, explaining that the events in the film are based on real events. She informs viewers that she'll be portraying Dr. Abigail Tyler, a sleep specialist in Nome, Alaska, who begins experiencing disturbing phenomena during her interviews with patients. Filmed re-creations of these sessions use actors as well as video footage of the allegedly real sessions. Director Olatunde Osunsanmi also appears as himself, interviewing a haggard, wasted-looking woman who's identified as the real Dr. Abigail Tyler, who also tells her own story. Through both the "real" and re-created footage, viewers follow Tyler's story as she discovers the truth about alien abductions and begins to suffer terrible experiences of her own.

Is it any good?


A good deal of time will be spent trying to determine just how real everything is in The Fourth Kind. Skeptics will have a good time tearing the film apart, while believers will be swayed by the film's presentation. Frankly, without the "based on true events" framing and the video footage of the supposedly real incidents, there's not much here; in other words, if this had been presented as a straight fiction film about a doctor and some alien abductions, it would have been a yawner.

None of the characters really comes to life, and the film spends too much time dangling and withdrawing its details, unable or unwilling to prove or disprove anything. As a result, there's very little mystery and no sequence of events that leads to anything; the horror is ultimately too intangible and indefinite to be very terrifying. Still, the movie sometimes manages some briefly effective scares and some moody atmosphere, and it may be an effective "check your brain at the door" kind of chiller for some audiences.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think the events in the film really happened. Are the things presented in the movie necessarily factual? How could they have been faked? How can you tell what's fact and fiction in situations like this?

  • If the movie is a put-on, what is the effect? And what are the consequences?

  • Why are some characters ready to believe that aliens exist, while others deny it?

  • Why would aliens be interested in abducting and experimenting onhumans? Are there any similar circumstances in which humans behave thesame way toward other species?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 6, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:March 16, 2010
Cast:Elias Koteas, Milla Jovovich, Will Patton
Director:Olatunde Osunsanmi
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violent/disturbing images, some terror, thematic elements and brief sexuality

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Kid, 12 years old April 16, 2014

What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old March 17, 2014

This movie gave me a scare!

This movie is pretty weird and creepy. It isn't the best alien movie ever, but this one was good. There is a bloody stabbing scene, but the rest is not that violent. There is some swearing, but it's not extremely bad. I think 11 and up would be good for this movie. I'm 10 and I survived this one! ;)
Parent Written byjennepps01 April 16, 2016


I read the reviews first and under SEX: it says that she just lies down next to her husband. So I watched it with my kids but had to fast foward that part. Lying down doesn't consist of lying on top of her husband and moaning! It was a quick scene but needs to be more specific!
What other families should know
Too much sex