While all of the promotional efforts leading up to the release of Olatunde Osunsanmi’s movie (especially those trailers with Milla Jovovich explaining how she’s playing psychologist Abigail Tyler while she shared split-screen time with a dead-eyed Tyler) seemingly wanted to capitalize on the similarities to Paranormal Activity, the true kindred spirit for this tale of alien abduction is The Mothman Prophecies. But Osunsanmi can’t even generate the first, most basic kind of spooks Mark Pellington created in a simple phone call from beyond.
Jovovich, Elias Koteas and Will Patton are game participants in the proceedings, but once the ball starts rolling, we know right away that there’s nothing “real” going on here, just a series of would-be documentary-framed shenanigans hoping to goose a few dollars out of pockets. It is the comparison to Mothman that lessons the impact of The Fourth Kind because that film (and its filmmaker) knew that the reality of the unknown needed to come from within the premise, not a juxtaposition hinging on a faked “reality” that lacks horrors sufficient to provoke chills or even a low-level tension or dread.
Don’t tell us something is real and scary, show us; make us feel it deep in our bones. That’s the kind of close encounter we want. Grade: D-plus
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