3. Alaska horror films: The Fourth Kind (2009)
Olatunde Osunsanmi’s The Fourth Kind is by no means a simple movie to summarize, involving suspicious events, strange imagery involving exotic white owls, space aliens, and hypnosis. In fact, if you haven’t seen the film in a while, there may be a whole lot of strange, intricate details you won’t be able to recall while writing about it years later. What can be said for sure is that the movie takes place in the relatively rural neighborhood of Nome, Alaska, as opposed to Los Angeles, California.
Also, in what appears to be a post-truth age, it seems important to note that The Fourth Kind is fictional, complete with some of the surreal concepts/imagery one might find in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Why the need to say this? Well, The Fourth Kind does, in some key ways, present itself as a true story, giving it a bit of a found-footage feel. Let’s put it this way: Even if space aliens are real, this is still just a movie.
Is it a good movie? It is actually quite popular, and I personally remember finding it decent. That being said, it’s probably one of those personal films, better related to individuals, rather than expecting a chorus of “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from friends, parents, teachers, or your therapist.
Unfortunately, Raphaël Coleman, who played the character of Ronnie, died in 2020 at the young age of 25. It appears he wasn’t a trouble-maker, at least not like the normal American teenager (attending parties, smoking, getting into trouble, and drinking). Instead, he gave up acting to be a climate change activist. The Fourth Kind also stars Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, and Elias Koteas.
4. Alaska horror films: The Grey (2011)
Joe Carnahan’s The Grey piques the interest of the viewer in a way similar to The Edge. Both movies are special because, for the most part, they pit man against beast, while at times showing humans in conflict with each other. Liam Neeson plays John Ottway, a marksman hired by an oil company to take out any grey wolves who might attack drill workers. Although grey wolves may be beautiful creatures, they can certainly be deadly – especially if your plane crashes within the wolves’ fiercely defended Alaskan territory and they always seem hungry.
Ottway’s case seems straightforward – and it is – because it’s quite simply about that situation getting out of hand. When man and wolf share the same area, either one can become hunted, and the hunt becomes far more dangerous when both sides are desperate. Ottway is no dummy, He has survival skills, can adequately investigate a scene, and there’s practically nothing about weapons and survival he doesn’t know about. However, this is no mindless action movie, as Ottway and the other survivors seem truly overwhelmed and like failure is around every tree, waiting to strike at any moment.
The Grey does have some atheist vs. belief elements, as some characters ponder secrets to “the other side,” and there is extraneous character development here and there. However, viewers will mostly be concerned about those darn wolves. So, when you watch The Grey, don’t expect too many freaky “Red Dragon”-style moments. It is an intriguing thriller about man vs. nature, with no real political intrigue.
Director Carnahan also co-wrote the screenplay, which never quite follows the same formula as many thrillers. It never throws in a heap of twists, and it’s not a very busy film, but that doesn’t mean it’s for simpletons. It’s a film that can be easily enjoyed, and without feeling like a sadistic twit. It challenges the viewer to ask what they would do in a survival scenario, with as many resources or less. So, in an odd sense, it’s like food for thought.