Sunday, October 27, 2013
Horror Challenge 81: "The Fourth Kind"
This movie is about a psychologist in a small town in Alaska whose husband has recently died under mysterious circumstances, and she's not handling it well. Her son is angry with her, and her young daughter has gone temporarily blind, which is a psychosomatic reaction to the stress and grief of losing her father. The psychologist's patients all begin telling her of the same strange experience: they each begin seeing an owl outside their windows at night, something of a shared hallucination, and they're all having troubles sleeping and coping with stress, and when she tries to put one patient under hypnosis to get him to examine the vision of the owl, he loses it and starts screaming and breaking things and then leaves and refuses to talk to her about it. Soon the doctor experiences a blackout and a hallucination of the white owl that her patients are seeing, but her tape recorder was running during this blackout, and the recording on the tape suggests that something very old and very malevolent is at work in the town.
Full disclosure part 2: Since I was a teenager, when I began having night terrors, I'd have a recurring dream of a white owl flying into my room and pecking at my face and walking up and down my body. I haven't really thought about it in awhile, but I'd had one of those dreams RIGHT BEFORE I watched this movie for the first time, so when the movie reveals what that vision might mean, I nearly peed my pants in terror. My own situation, my own fears and dreams and experiences conspired with the movie to make me pretty freaked out for awhile after I first saw the movie. Of course I can't replicate that experience, now that it's been a few years and I have my nightmares more or less under control, but this movie still works for me. It's creepy and atmospheric and I really like the main character, the doctor Abigail, so I care what happens to her. It's interesting to revisit the movie after it scared me so badly years ago and I'm glad to find that I still liked it and thought it was a good movie, even when it didn't terrify me anymore.