Chernobyl Diaries (2012) – Film Review

chernobyl diaries small girl in dark

Director: Bradley Parker
Cast: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Jonathan Sadowski, Devin Kelley
Certificate: 18

by Matt Callard

As fresh material for a new strain of horror movie, Chernobyl offers the lot. A 30km ‘Zone of Alienation’, unusual strains of biodiversity, that awful 20,000-year exclusion for human habitation. Plus, the slow reopening of the area for ‘extreme tourism’.

Some smart film-making could ask all sorts of questions and raise a host of prescient 21st century issues, as well as scaring our pants off in the process. Except Chernobyl Diaries is dumb. Agonisingly dumb.

The set-up is good. Three backpacking American tourists looking suitably fearless, young and intrepid are travelling around Europe’s major cities. Before long they meet up with a friend in Kiev. He suggests an off-itinerary trip to the town of Prypiat, just outside of Chernobyl.

chernobyl diaries film review movie

“Characters become less and less likeable”

After persuasion, all pack into a van in time for a quick gawp before nightfall. They tiptoe around an eerily deserted town before escaping back to the van just as it starts to get too creepy. Except someone has tampered with the engine. You can guess the rest…

And there lies the problem – you really can guess the rest. There’s a lot of running around and screaming with absolutely no logic to the group’s decision making. The lot of them become less and less likeable as the film progresses until they meet their couldn’t-care-less doom. Worse – there’s an exasperating lack of explanation to the exact nature of the shadowy beings lurking around the town.

The acting’s bad, clichés abound and the whole is shot in that painfully out of date, cheap Paranormal Activity digital style. It does nothing but induce killer migraines. As a film, this deserves its own exclusion zone.


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