Scene from the Fourth Kind
A few years ago The Blair Witch Project promoted their film by claiming there were students missing after investigating a local folk tale. The campaign was a fraud. The movie was wildly successful. It unfortunately left behind a terrible legacy, where filmmakers feel no responsibility to advertise their films with an ounce of honesty.
Unfortunately, The Fourth Kind is following in the footsteps of The Blair With Project. Not only did they advertise that the information and news footage in the film was real, they state at the start of the film that the news footage is real. Then, they state it again at the end of the movie. Guess what? The film is a hoax. Aliens won’t be arriving any time soon, and people are not disappearing from Nome, Alaska in abnormal numbers.
According to Wikipedia
“On September 1, 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 12, 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. “
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I personally I think the filmmakers from The Fourth Kind should get a major fine from the FTC for fraudulent advertising practices. I don’t trust filmmakers at all lately. They change facts in biopics, create conversations that didn’t exist (like in Frost/Nixon), and completely misrepresent events, including supposed police footage, like this film did.
If the footage had been real in The Fourth Kind, the film would have been interesting, although only moderately well done. Since the footage is not real, it does not even have the interest factor going for it. I am rather shocked that Chapman University allowed the filmmakers to plaster their logo throughout the film. I had mentioned to my kids that it was either a solid promotion of their psychology department with very poor interview setup and control, or a somewhat shameless promotion of their film department with bogus footage. Sadly, it appears to have been the latter. Shame on them. I can see that Chapman University needs to re-examine their ethics policy in their film department.
If you decide to see The Fourth Kind, I’d recommend that you wait until it comes on cable. Keep in mind that the disclaimers about real footage at the beginning and end of the film is apparently not true, and then relax and enjoy the film for what it is.
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