The Fourth Kind

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Fourth Kind Movie Poster Image
Realistic alien abduction tale too violent/chilling for kids
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 27 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language

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.).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 10, 11, and 13-year-old Written byRuben H. March 29, 2018
Adult Written byETHANGaming February 23, 2018

Very Stressful Gets You Paranoid And may give you nightmares

Wait 2 stars ?!? I Loved this movie but it was very stressfull to watch it was sweating so much XD this movie what it does it makes you paranoid about alien mak... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byram234533ds May 26, 2020

The fourth kind review.

This movie is terrible. I have nothing to say good about it besides it may give a good scare to some. Just a stupid movie, don’t waste your time. They say th... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 16, 2014

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate