johnlink ranks CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012)

Well, October may be over and Halloween may be past, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my DVR. I still have some residual horror left to get to. I may not (scratch that… will not) get to them all. But I was in the mood for something low maintenance, so I went with this regularly panned road trip flick.


I watched CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012) on 11.4.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

Lowered expectations are usually not a bad thing. If the viewer thinks a movie to be shit before stepping in, it will almost always be shit or better than shit. It, very rarely, will be worse than shit.

And so, CHERNOBYL DIARIES is helped by the fact that the expectations are so low. The first act is a quite acceptable introduction to a bunch of white tourists ready to go extreme by taking pictures outside the ghost town remnants from the nuclear disaster of 1986. They are led by ex-military man Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko), who ably plays the square-shaped guide. The plot moves on carefully, slowly revealing some things which aren’t quite right. The fish are mutated. The dogs are seemingly rabid. A fire seems to have been left smoldering by… someone.

As this movie moves into the horror of the second act, it does a decent enough job providing suspense and scares. It makes you jump a few times, it builds tension in a calculated way, it pays off with some violence and terror. The worst that can be said about this movie is that it is wholly unoriginal. It has little to offer in terms of genre bending. The theme seems to be “don’t go places you shouldn’t” mixed with “your friends and family will all die if you let them take you to Chernobyl”. This isn’t a deep movie, even if it is an ably filmed one. I somehow was under the impression that this was another found-footage film. While there are two scenes which utilize this method (the opening and one clever video camera scene), the movie on the whole is shot handheld, but not as found-footage. The experience is that of a traditional horror movie, and a watchable one at that.

One could easily stand on the other side of the fence and say “Why was this made?” I wouldn’t be able to put up an argument other than “Why not?” CHERNOBYL DIARIES is a perfectly alright movie to watch once when you are in the mood for a generic movie with some scares. It’s a movie both easily digested and easily forgotten. Everything about it is just ok. The acting is fine, the writing is fine, the direction is fine. Don’t come here for inspiration, but feel free to stop by for 90ish minutes of acceptable entertainment.






~ by johnlink00 on November 5, 2013.

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