Chris (Jesse McCartney) travels to Kiev, Ukraine for a brief visit with his brother, Paul (Johnathan Sadowski). Amanda (Devin Kelley) and Chris’ girlfriend, Natalie (Olivia Taylor Dudley) accompany him on the trip, and the small group of friends try to enjoy a peaceful vacation. Chris has plans of proposing marriage to Natalie in Moscow, Russia, but Paul changes everything with one bright idea.
Paul decides to take the group on an extreme tour to the ruined town of Pripyat. The abandoned town of Pripyat suffered severe damage after the tragic explosion of the Chernobyl
Uri’s tour lives up to the hype at first, but along the way, Uri begins to display signs of suspicious behavior. After an unpleasant surprise, Uri decides to end the tour early, but the group returns to a startling discovery, when they find Uri’s van. The wires have been destroyed, and the group is stranded in the abandoned town of Pripyat. But the lack of transportation isn’t their biggest problem. Dangerous stray dogs and bloodthristy mutants stalk the tourists, and the group must avoid the deadly levels of radiation, if they want to escape Pripyat alive.
Chernobyl Diaries should’ve been the perfect horror film, right? The true backstory of the Chernobyl disaster provides a strong sense of realism, the acting is pretty solid, and this film does feature some good scares every now and then, so where did they go wrong? Well, Chernobyl Diaries isn’t a complete train wreck, but I can't ignore the noticeable problems. First of all, the overwhelming amount of stupidity is annoying. Let’s review the series of dumb choices throughout Chernobyl Diaries:
**WARNING THIS SECTION OF THE REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS**
I’m sorry, but I can’t feel any sympathy for stupid characters, and Chernobyl Diaries takes stupidity to a whole new level. “Are they trying to die?” I constantly asked myself this question throughout the film, and the answer was a resounding “YES!” every time. You’re stuck in a life threatening situation. I’m supposed to be rooting for your survival, but I couldn’t wait for the certain deaths of the main characters in this one. Next to the mutants, the main cast of characters were their own worst enemy. Paul is an idiot and a douchebag, and every other character lacks common sense.
At first, I did have high hopes for Chernobyl Diaries. The early stages of this film featured some great tension, the jump scares felt surprising, and the abandoned town of Pripyat provided the perfect chilling atmosphere. But then I started to notice the stupidity of the main characters. Chernobyl Diaries delivered some great scares early on, but as time progressed, painful boredom killed all of the momentum for this film. Chernobyl Diaries will give you some spooky moments, but the terror eventually fades away and unfortunately, any hopes for a good horror film are flushed down the toilet. You’ll have to suffer through a series of uninteresting and tiresome chase scenes, as the main characters continuously run from the mutants. “Oh, look. They’re running from the mutants…..again.” The constant barrage of chase scenes quickly turn into dull snoozefests, and I really forced myself to stay awake during the final moments of this film.
Oren Peli and the Van Dyke brothers (Shane and Carey) wrote the screenplay for this one, and they really dropped the ball here. Bradley Parker didn’t do a bad job on the directing side of things, but the screenplay is just atrocious. It’s a real shame, because Peli and the Van Dyke brothers did have some great source material to work with.
I could sense a great amount of potential at first, but Chernobyl Diaries eventually devolves into your typical below average mainstream horror film, filled with predictable horror clichés, and moronic characters. Foolishly, I clinged to a shred of hope during this film. “It has to get better. It can’t be this bad. Chernobyl Diaries is going to pick up again at some point.” My feelings of hope were crushed, and I struggled to find some positive highlights, because the bad really outweighs the good here. Too much stupidity, painful boredom, a handful of unanswered questions, and the lame ending didn’t help anything. I guess they were going for a terrifying cliffhanger, but Chernobyl Diaries already lost my attention by that point, and I just didn’t give a shit anymore.
Chernobyl Diaries could’ve been that one delightful treat for horror fans in 2012, but I’m going to think of an awful and boring disappointment, when I remember this film.
Final Rating: 3/10