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Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone.

There you have the IMDB quoted premise for this ‘shocking horror movie by the minds from Paranormal Activity’.
Minds could actually be changed into mind since it’s Oren Peli (the creator/director from the somewhat cult hit ‘Paranormal Activity’) who wrote this story.

The movie kicks off with a fun little montage that gives us a quick rundown of the group of tourists and the dynamics between them. I was surprised how effective this was. The actors involved are all relatively unknown names (as is the case with most of these type of movies) but they do a good job at being believable. We still get the stereotypical bunch of people (including a tourguide with a russian/english accent that would make James Bond proud) but they are likeable, which makes it more interesting when it starts.

And that start of the movie develops itself into a very decent first hour. The abandoned town of Pripyat is a great setting for a horrorfilm and the tour guide does indeed take us on a great tour as he lays out the story of what happened there.
It’s atmospheric and definitely worth seeing for the shots from Pripyat and its surroundings alone.
From there on, we get to the inevitable point of trouble as the group heads back to the van, only to find it sabotaged. The night sets in and the group is stranded with no people aware of their trip.

And it’s here that we get the first glimpses of the type of movie this really is.
Jump scares, irrational decisions and a lot of shaky camera footage quickly takes over the movie, and shows us that this is a definite case of a missed opportunity.
Since the characters are likeable the movie manages to be interesting for longer than it actually should be, and even though you can see the twists and turns coming from a mile away, you’ll still be curious to see if it manages to pick up pace again.

Sadly it doesn’t, and when the credits roll you are left with that all too familiar feeling of a forgettable time at the movies.
Never the less, if you go in with low expectations, you do get a fairly entertaining movie with a great atmosphere, but it doesn’t warrant anything more than a rental at your local videostore.

6.5/10 stars!



One thought on “Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

  1. Good review. I was not surprised by your rating. It just has a lazy, uninspired and routine feel to it despite the atmosphere. Thanks for the head’s up.

    Posted by Victor De Leon | June 27, 2012, 22:55

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