Chernobyl Diaries

In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine offered a savage reminder of the destructive force and volatile nature of nuclear energy. An explosion at the power plant contaminated a huge area with high lethal, devastating levels of radioactivity, which stand to last for thousands of years. So, in all fairness, going there is probably not wise. It certainly isn’t something which most would count as a fun day out.

Workers in the area are limited in the amount of time the can stay because of the radiation levels, and there is a 19-mile exclusion zone with almost no inhabitants.

Chernobyl Diaries tells the somewhat unlikely story of several holidaymakers who actually want to take a day trip inside the exclusion zone to Prypiat, a deserted town not far from the disaster site.

Chris and his girlfriend Natalie, along with their friend Amanda, are moving through Europe as so many horror movie protagonists choose to do, and they meet up with Chris’ fun-loving care-free and plentifully irritating brother Paul, who lives in Kiev. This genius is the one who suggests an ‘extreme tour’ with local guide and generally large man, Yuri. They take little convincing, and set off with another couple joining them In Yuri’s rickety van which, incidentally, inspires about as much confidence as the sight of a mushroom cloud on the horizon.

We get plenty of shaky-cam treatment, in an attempt to give the whole thing a documentary-style authentic feel, and once they discover a mutated fish you can pretty much guess where it’s going.

The plot is extremely thin, like a brutally starved wafer, so let’s just say they find themselves stuck there and from that point it all gets a bit nasty.

There isn’t really that much terribly wrong with Chernobyl Diaries, when you look at it against other horror yarn driven entirely by shocks and a semi-inventive premise. There are some good jumps, and whilst it was not filmed in Prypiat for obvious reasons, the alternate setting used is convincingly desolate and genuinely creepy. Aside from a stick-thin plot, the main issue would be the characters; they are instantly forgettable and difficult to root for, since they are so mind-bendingly stupid.

At each grim demise you find yourself unmoved, but the fluid flow of the movie, chilling imagery and authentic setting do allow for Chernobyl Diaries to remain watchable and sporadically entertaining.

DVD Rental Rating: 6/10

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