The Fourth Kind (2009)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Fourth Kind is based on a screenplay by Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the movie. However, psychiatrists like John E. Mack (1929-2004) have investigated people who believed they were abducted by extraterrestrial lifeforms. Mack wrote several books on the issue, "Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens", being most recognized. The Fourth Kind looks heavily based on Mack's book. Dr Abigail Tyler, portrayed by Jovovich, being John Mack.
The title is taken from astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek's 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry. Hynek introduced three kinds of alien encounters: (1) a sighting of one or more unidentified flying objects, (2) physical evidence of a UFO, (3) observation of "animate beings" associated with UFOs. The fourth kind refers to an actual abduction.
The film's trailer states that the story is based on "actual case studies," but did not specify any cases. As a result, much speculation has arisen regarding the search for documented evidence from the actual cases and whether Dr. Abigail Tyler is a real person or a fictional character for use in an internet viral marketing campaign. On September 1st, 2009, an investigation by the Anchorage Daily News examined the validity of the film's premise, and its relation to actual disappearances that have occurred in and around the town of Nome. The investigation found no specific events to back up the claims in the film and also revealed that unsolved deaths in Nome are no more frequent than any other small Alaskan town. The consensus is that the high rate of alcoholism combined with the harsh landscape surrounding Nome accounts for a majority of disappearances (just as in other remote areas). On November 12th, 2009 Universal Pictures agreed to a $20,000 settlement with the Alaska Press Club "to settle complaints about fake news archives used to promote the movie." Universal acknowledged that they created fake online news articles and obituaries to make it appear that the movie had a basis in real events.