Movie Review: "Chernobyl Diaries"

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“Chernobyl Diaries” (Warner Brothers)

“Chernobyl Diaries” is a horror movie whose main claim to fame is that it is produced by Oren Pell, the man behind the “Paranormal Activity” films. That link alone should be enough to draw in a fairly sizeable audience. Once they arrive however they are probably going to be disappointed because all of the skills on display in that series of movies is missing from this one.

“Chernobyl Diaries” is one of those movies where the characters on screen do one dumb thing after another. The audience is screaming “don’t go there!” and off the people go. Also the ultimate outcome of the film is fairly predictable from the beginning. When it happens the audience thinks yes that is where I thought it was leading.

The plot centers on a group of young people who are touring Europe. They are Chris (Jesse McCartney), and his girlfriend Natalie (Olivia Dudley) and her friend Amanda (Devin Kelley). When they reach Kiev they meet up with Chris’ brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski). Paul is the impulsive brother and he talks Chris and his group into taking a quick trip to the city of Prypiat which is right outside the Chernobyl nuclear reactors which melted down in 1986.

The tour guide for this adventure is a guy named Yuri (Dimitri Diatchenko), who has also talked another couple, Michael (Nathan Phillips) and Zoe (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), into making the trip. They all get in a van for a couple of hours tour of this site. When they plan to return the van will not crank and all hell breaks loose from there.

Is the movie scary? Yes, it is. It has the requisite number of dark places to investigate with mutant people or animals always a possibility. The unknown is what is scary – not what is actually shown.

The plot of the film does not hold up when you look back over the occurrences in the film. When you question who, what and how things were happening it all adds up to a big huh! But it is mildly entertaining while it is all taking place.

The locale of the film adds to the suspense of the story while the actors just run around screaming and not doing any real acting. Most of these actors have not been heard of in the past and will probably not be heard of in the future.

The movie is rated R for profanity and violence.

“Chernobyl Diaries” is a film with a few thrills but it is certainly no “Paranormal Activity.” This film will be over and done with in theaters in just a few days. It will probably attract a much bigger audience on Blu-Ray.

I scored “Chernobyl Diaries” a radiated 4 out of 10.


Photo courtesy of: Warner Brothers

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