The Fourth Kind: expectedly unsettling

It's no surprise that The Fourth Kind, named for its reference to the highest form of extraterrestrial encounters - alien abductions - has not been a huge hit at the box office.

The film, in all its attempts to not be categorized as a thriller, unintentionally gets caught up in the typical "could this truly have happened?" story, reminiscent of the old television show "Unsolved Mysteries."

Its jumbled array of "real" and reenacted footage of alien encounters is fairly unsettling; moviegoers actually watch psychiatric patients going through a series of what seem like "night terrors" gone horribly wrong.

Though it's disturbing, is it real? The only evidence for such encounters is that given by the patients of psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler, who also experiences the encounters herself and films many of her own case studies.

Set in Nome, Alaska, the town with the highest cases for missing people and unsolved FBI cases in the state, the film insists that aliens must cause these occurrences. The truth of this story, however, is supported only by the studies of an obviously unstable Tyler and her unreliable films, gargled sound bites and witnesses who refuse share their version of the story.

Unfortunately, "actual" footage and sound bites become fuzzy and tough to understand just as things get even remotely interesting - how convenient. Tyler, portrayed by Milla Jovovich, took the action a step further through dramatizations that were worsened by her mediocre acting.

Expected Hollywood exaggerations are kept at a minimum, though, and the film's blurriness is the extent of that; director Olatunde Osunsanmi did well to steer clear of the suspenseful music and special effects that would only advocate mockery. Instead, he leaves room for imagination instead of showing computer graphics of some unoriginal mutant from outer space.

Osunsanmi even leaves room for skepticism by showing the somewhat psychologically disturbed side of Tyler, whose pale white face and unhealthy appearance are the most daunting part of the movie - reason enough to suspect she is not in the right state of mind to be taken completely seriously.

The film doesn't get screams, but rather forces the question of extraterrestrial beings. Though Osunsanmi claims the movie is a reenactment of real events, the moviegoer is left to believe what they want of it. The Fourth Kind is unlikely to reverse a way of thinking, failing to deliver believable evidence that there actually is something out there, which ultimately was the point of the movie.