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10 Haunting Movies Like The Fourth Kind Any Horror Fan Will Love

The Milla Jovovich film "The Fourth Kind" is not your typical alien abduction film. For one, you never actually see any aliens in the film, just one really creepy-looking owl. It's also based on purportedly "true" events and uses documentary footage to give you the sense that what you're seeing is as close to what really happened as possible. "The Fourth Kind" is set in Nome, Alaska, and follows Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychologist who begins noticing some strange similarities between her patient's stories. Several of Dr. Tyler's patients describe waking up in the middle of the night and seeing a white owl staring at them, an owl that they first encountered as children.

Dr. Tyler decides to try hypnotherapy to uncover her patient's repressed memories, and in the process of this work finds what she believes to be evidence of alien abduction. Though everyone around her dismisses her claims and assumes she's gone crazy following the death of her husband — who she believes was murdered — Dr. Tyler continues her search for the truth.

Whether or not you come away from the film believing in alien abductions or not will depend on your own unique worldview, but Jovovich — and the real Dr. Tyler, who features throughout the film — certainly do their best to convince you. (The film's marketing also tried to convince viewers about the veracity of the events, but that ended in a lawsuit.) Regardless of if you're a true believer or not, "The Fourth Kind" is likely to pique your interest in the subject. If that's the case, then you're in the right place. Keep reading to discover what you should watch next.

Dark Skies

What makes the 2013 horror film "Dark Skies" great is that, as in "The Fourth Kind," you never really see the aliens, nor do you know what they want or how they operate. The Blumhouse Productions film stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as Lacy and Daniel Barrett, a happily married couple who live in the suburbs with their two sons. One day, strange things begin happening around the house. All of the contents of their kitchen are taken out and rearranged, and hundreds of birds suddenly crash into the windows.

Things only get weirder from here. Each member of the family begins losing time, going into catatonic states, and having no memory of what just occurred. Lacy and Daniel come to believe they are being hunted by some unseen forces and become desperate to save their family. Soon, however, they begin to lose control of their actions, and any hope they had of defeating these creatures dwindles.

One of the most compelling aspects of the film is that nothing is fully explained, and its open-ended conclusion makes the events of the film all the more chilling. (For this reason, you might say it's more like a ghost story than an alien story.) As J.K. Simmons' alien expert character in the film tells the Barretts, "you cannot escape them. Sooner or later, when they're ready, they will take your family." You might want to lock your doors after watching this one, though as well all know, that won't do much good when the aliens come.

Fire in the Sky

IndieWire ranked "Fire in the Sky" as the scariest alien abduction movie ever made, which gives you an indication of the kind of film we're dealing with here. As in "The Fourth Kind," "Fire in the Sky" is based on purportedly real events, which makes its subject matter all the more chilling. "Fire in the Sky" is an interesting addition to the abduction genre as it examines both sides of the event. Based on Travis Walton's book about his abduction experience, the film depicts his story from beginning, middle, to end.

Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) is a logger who disappears from the forest one night. His co-workers report seeing a strange light, but their story is dismissed by local police. While Travis is missing, his devoted friend, Mike Rogers (Robert Patrick), searches in vain. What's so interesting about the film is that we actually get to see Travis' abduction from his perspective, and it's totally harrowing to watch.

The fact that the alien abduction is explicitly depicted actually adds to the horror of the film in this case, whereas other films in this vein tend to take the less-is-more approach. The film's focus on those who weren't abducted, such as Mike, adds another layer of pathos to the story, as we're able to see just how devastating these events were for everyone involved.


Many alien abduction stories seem to make a connection between abductions and dreams or sleeping patterns. This is true of "The Fourth Kind," in which dreams and repressed memories play a central role, as well as the 1989 film "Communion." The film stars Christopher Walken as Whitley Strieber, a writer who lives in New York. After a mysterious incident at the family cabin one weekend, Whitley begins having disturbing dreams, and his increasingly erratic behavior begins to scare his son and upset his wife.

He begins going to a hypnotherapist in order to understand what's really happened, and the therapy sessions seem to confirm that he may have been abducted by aliens. Like many other films in the genre, it's never really made clear what the aliens want from Whitley. We won't spoil the ending here, but it's not a typical conclusion for an alien abduction story, and it's not all doom and gloom like you might expect.

To make matters even more interesting, the film is actually based on the experience of the real-life Whitley Strieber, which will definitely give you something to chew on. Walken is typically great in the role, and it also features a killer soundtrack by none other than Eric Clapton.


"V/H/S/2" is a found footage anthology film and the second installment in the "V/H/S" franchise. One of the better-received films in the series (via Rotten Tomatoes), "V/H/S/2" begins with a prologue that follows two private investigators, Larry (Lawrence Michael Levine) and Ayesha (Kelsy Abbott), who are hired to investigate the disappearance of a college student named Kyle (L.C. Holt). While searching his dorm, they find a stack of VHS tapes and a video on his laptop explaining the meaning of the tapes. The short films that follow are the content on the tapes that Ayesha and Larry begin watching.

Each of the short films has something different to offer horror fans, but the one most relevant to us is the last short, "Slumber Party Alien Abduction," which is directed by Jason Eisener. The film follows a group of teenagers staying at a lake house, and the action is captured by — if you can believe it — a camera attached to a Yorkshire Terrier named Tank. Brothers Gary (Rylan Logan) and Randy (Cohen King) invite their friends over in order to harass their sister and her boyfriend, and pranks involving Tank's camera ensue.

Their hijinks are interrupted by an alien attack, and the aliens work on abducting the group after trying to drown them in their sleeping bags. It's one of the best shorts in the franchise, and it's a unique mix of the slumber party/alien abduction narratives and a clever take on found footage.

The Phoenix Incident

While "The Fourth Kind" isn't technically a documentary, it does make use of documentary footage, which is why we've also included this next film on the list: 2015's "The Phoenix Incident" presents itself as a documentary-style, found-footage film based on the alleged events of the "Phoenix Lights," a mass UFO sighting that took place in 1997. Using documentary footage from the time, the film purports to explain the disappearance of four men from the area. A Heaven's Gate cult member was initially suspected, while it was later concluded that a bear attack was the most logical explanation.

By using actual footage from the time period, "The Phoenix Incident" works to convince the audience that the events of the film were part of a vast coverup on the part of the American military and government. The film explains that the U.S. military has been engaging in covert warfare with extraterrestrial forces for decades, something they've kept hidden from the public.

If you're looking for a film that might send you into a deep dark hole of conspiracy theories, "The Phoenix Incident" is a good bet.


Eduardo Sánchez may be best known for the found footage horror film "The Blair Witch Project," but that wasn't his last foray into horror filmmaking. His 2006 film "Altered" is a unique addition to the alien abduction genre and as such is deserving of a spot on this list. Rather than tracking the events leading up to an alien abduction, "Altered" takes the opposite approach, instead looking at what happens in the years following an abduction.

The film centers on four men — Cody (Paul McCarthy-Boyington), Duke (Brad William Henke), Otis (Michael C. Williams), and Wyatt (Adam Kaufman) — who were abducted by aliens 15 years earlier. One of their friends was killed during the abduction, and Cody, Duke, and Otis have decided to enact their revenge on the creatures that took them. They return to the spot of their abduction in search of their captors and end up capturing one of the aliens. They bring the wounded alien to the home of their remaining friend, Wyatt, and await the consequences of their actions.

Despite the fact that "Altered" is a fairly low-budget film, the alien creations are surprisingly well done and there are plenty of frightening moments throughout. It's a witty take on the abduction story, and the ill-advised nature of the protagonists' plan is just ludicrous enough to be genuinely funny.

The Nightmare

While several of the films on this list take documentary filmmaking as their inspiration, this next film is an actual documentary, not just a facsimile of one. The 2015 film "The Nightmare" is not actually about aliens, but it is about sleep paralysis, which happens to have a lot in common with the purported experiences of alien abductees. Plus, as we've already noted, sleeping patterns and dreams are a huge theme in alien abduction films, including "The Fourth Kind."

"The Nightmare" follows a group of people who experience sleep paralysis, a rather haunting occurrence wherein individuals are unable to move while they are either falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying experience for some as it sometimes coincides with the appearance of hallucinations, which can be quite chilling in nature. The film features interviews with eight individuals who experience sleep paralysis along with reenactments of their experiences and hallucinations.

The film was directed by Rodney Ascher, whose previous film, "Room 327," analyzed the many different theories about the hidden meaning of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Ascher chose to make "The Nightmare" because of his own experiences with sleep paralysis and was able to find participants using social media (via Vulture). It may not be a horror film exactly, but it's filled with enough nightmare-inducing sequences (literally) to make you afraid of going to sleep at night.

The Forgotten

One of the overarching themes in "The Fourth Kind" is the distinction between reality and delusion. The death of Dr. Tyler's husband has been ruled a suicide, but she believes it was murder. Her daughter also goes missing, and her disappearance is never explained. Another film that explores this theme is "The Forgotten," which stars Julianne Moore and Dominic West. Moore plays Telly, a woman whose son disappeared in a plane crash a year prior. After being told by her psychiatrist and husband that her son never existed, she sets out to find the truth. She meets Ash (West), whose daughter also went missing in the crash, and they uncover the sinister truth behind the events.

We're not going to spoil the ending for you here, but suffice it to say, it's a wild ride. Like Dr. Tyler, Telly is constantly being told she's delusional and must summon all her strength in order to fight back. The plot is a bit hair-brained at times, but Moore delivers a typically gripping performance that keeps you invested in her story. It might not be the best the genre has to offer, but it's just ridiculous enough to be entertaining. "The real suspense is in seeing just how far out Gerald Di Pego's script is going to go, as this paranoid thriller leaps to the supernatural. It's poppycock, but well directed," wrote Newsweek.

The Block Island Sound

Sometimes, the best monster movies are the ones where you never actually see the monsters. That's certainly the case with "The Block Island Sound," the 2020 film from brothers Matthew and Kevin McManus. The film takes place on Block Island, a small piece of land off the coast of Rhode Island. Tom (Neville Archambault) is a fisherman who lives on the island with his son, Harry (Chris Sheffield). Tom begins behaving strangely and taking the fishing boat out in the middle of the night, and wildlife on the island start dying in droves. Harry calls his sister, Audry (Michaela McManus), who works for the EPA, to come and investigate, and things only get weirder from there.

What's most compelling (or perhaps frustrating, depending on your perspective) about the film is how ambiguous it is. It's not clear what exactly is causing these strange occurrences, but that also makes the events of the film even more terrifying. The ominous tone of the film will surely cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, even if you're never really sure what it is you should be afraid of. Is it aliens? Environmental degradation? Mental illness? You decide.

As Decider's Johnny Loftus wrote, it's "an impressively-crafted horror indie with a boatload of suspense, a great sense of character, and the ability to frighten with neither ghostly nor bloody interference." If you're looking for a monstrously good time you might be disappointed, but if you're up for something a little more enigmatic, then you might want to give this one a shot.

Skinwalker Ranch

Found footage filmmaking seems to be a popular style for alien films, and 2013's "Skinwalker Ranch" is yet another example of this. The film takes place at the so-called Skinwalker Ranch, a real-life ranch in Utah that is said to be the site of several UFO sightings. The movie follows a series of mysterious events that occur on the ranch. When the ranch owner's son goes missing, a research team is sent to investigate these odd occurrences. The team sets up cameras around the ranch that record these strange events, and they are warned by a local Native American man that their lives are at stake.

"Skinwalker Ranch" doesn't necessarily add anything new to the found footage genre, but there are enough scares to keep you at least mildly intrigued. As Roger Ebert's Dan Callahan wrote, "The somewhat charming thing about 'Skinwalker Ranch' is that it takes itself seriously. Even though the style is very much paint-by-numbers, with handheld footage alternating with static surveillance shots of various locations on the ranch, the core of the film is sincere." Films like this that are based on "real events" tend to be overly committed to convincing you about the truth of the matter, but "Skinwalker Ranch" at least tries to get you invested in the story from an emotional standpoint as well.