|DVD Chernobyl Diaries
Run time: 86 min
Genres: Horror | Thriller
Director: Bradley Parker
Writers: Oren Peli, Carey Van Dyke
Stars: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Taylor Dudley
Americans Chris, his girlfriend Natalie and their friend Amanda travel to Europe on vacation. They meet up with Chris’ brother Paul living in Kiev, Ukraine. Chris wants to travel to Moscow to propose to Natalie, but Paul convinces the group to first visit Chernobyl with an extreme tourism guide. They meet the guide Uri and another couple who are also going on the tour. Uri explains that because of the radiation levels he can only take them to Pripyat, a deserted city very near Chernobyl. They travel by van, but are stopped by a military checkpoint that makes them turn back. Not giving up, Uri finds an alternative route to the town. The group spends the day taking photographs and exploring abandoned buildings. Uri becomes nervous and decides it’s time to head home. However, the van won’t start and they discover the engine was sabotaged. Soon they discover that they are stranded, no one knows they are there and that they are definitely not alone. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Plot Keywords: pripyat, van, tour guide, stranded, checkpoint|
Release Date: 22 June 2012 (UK)
Opening Weekend: $7,955,307 (USA) (25 May 2012)
Gross: $18,112,929 (USA) (13 July 2012)
This COULD have been a great film. The idea behind it and the setting builds tension and the first half of the film isn't bad. The second half lets it down. Poor cinematography means half the time you have no clue whats going on. Many of the shots are just to dark to be able to see around the characters leading to confusion as to what exactly is going on. The ending is also half done. It was like the writers just shoved it in there as an extra with no thought.
Its sad because its well acted and has some good startle scares unfortunately most of these are in the trailer.
Wait for the DVD,
I disagree with all previous reviews. I want to say that film was rather better in his genre(horror) – film wasn't filled with cheap scary tricks, as for me, it is important. Also, this point of view on that tragedy, which was in 1986, much better than others – we had better to laugh then cry! You don't see every year this tears and memory-concerts. They destroy bravest of people, who saved us many years ago (they aren't alive now)don't grateful to us. Because we create a great problem on that base. Do you, foreigners, know with what words we start 26 of April every year? No, you don't! In translation they will look like this:"Black pain, a day of black pain and death"(Chernobyl Eng. – Чернобиль ukr.; Chern-Черний – black; Byl- біль – pain).
I'm very grateful to the author of the film, he must continue it and film the second part an third. Also I recommend him to make an accent on computer game "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." in filming.
I want to add that when I was in area which is near Nuclaer station an both cities (Chernobyl, Prypyat) it is really scary, even if you know that radiation only kill and don't effect mutation. The author really good pass it to spectator (For example me). I have refelt the feelings that i'm in red forest again!
I strongly recommend this film to everybody!!!
Bradley Parker's Chernobyl Diaries kicks off with a happy-go-lucky montage of American Euro-trippers goofing around to Supergrass's "Alright." It's a sequence you'd even groan about if your good friends whipped it together on iMovie. The video diary aspect of the film's title is established here, and soon after the overconfident douchey horror cliché, Paul (Jonathan Sadowski)charms (?) his brother's two friends into joining an "extreme tour" into Pripyat.
Haven't heard of Pripyat or Chernobyl? The writers were thinking of you (Paul: "Who here's heard of Chernobyl?" Natalie: "Isn't that where the nuclear disaster happened?"). I couldn't decide if Natalie was being written as a horror ditz (she wasn't) or if the expositional writing was beyond awful (probably). However, in retrospect, I wonder how many teens in the audience actually need Chernobyl explained to them? Near the end of the film, when two of the protagonists find themselves inside the ghostly ruins of the nuclear plant, the audience is let in on some important information: "We need to get out of here before the radiation kills us." This is good advice, seeing as their faces are melting. I wonder how convincing nuclear lobbyists have been at hiding the dangers of being near radiation.
I'm still trying to figure out why this film was made. The eerie presence of off-limit radiation zones has been masterfully handled in Tarkofvki's Stalker, which shouldn't even be mentioned next to this stinker. The tension between characters doesn't grow beyond "You're never there for me as a brother" and falls miles short of the complex relationships in Neil Marshall's spelunking survival-horror The Descent. John Boorman's Deliverance marks a more nuanced look at extreme tourism, where city slickers want to raft down an isolated river system before the whole area is flooded by new dams. The antagonists of the film are the locals who don't take kindly to cocky outsiders, and yet have no way of knowing that they will be displaced or drowned (see Up the Yangtze for a non-fiction displacement situation in China).
The closest Chernobyl Diaries comes to anything beyond a Ukrainian The Hills Have Eyes, is the attempt at portraying a conflicted character in Uri, the tour guide. He is old enough to have lived through the disaster, as well as the shifting political landscape, and as an ex-soldier he establishes his tour company because of what seems like limited financial options. The film hints at Uri knowing about the hidden radiation victims around Pripyat, and yet, while the tourists mess around in the abandoned homes, the big soldier has tears in his eyes. He also includes an abandoned carnival on the tour, alluding to a May Day celebration that never happened. Uri clearly feels for the workers whose lives were destroyed by the meltdown, and yet shows very little malice for the disrespectful brats he guides around. However, because he is the most physically capable, and possesses crucial knowledge of the place, he is of course the first to die. Keeping Uri alive would have resulted in a much more interesting film.
The writers were clearly not interested in investigating in any thoughtful issues. If the argument is going to be made that this is a horror film and is only produced to scare you, I'd suggest you pay your friends a dollar to jump out at you a number of times throughout the day. Excellent horror films are more than a popped paper bag. If we've forgotten about nuclear dangers (even amongst the recent Fukushima disaster), have we also forgotten how to haunt? None of the bumps-in-the-night were as chilling as the sick feeling caused by the depiction of radiation poisoning near the end of the film, and even this haunting feeling is tossed out the window for one final scare which shifts all the blame from Western tourists to the big-bad-probably-still-our-enemy-generic-Eastern-European-government. The thesis of the film seems to be "stay out of dangerous countries that can't even take care of their own issues." I remember looking through one of my dad's National Geographic magazines on Chernobyl and being horrified by the children born with major health problems and missing limbs. The image is still frozen in my mind. I'm not morally upset that the filmmakers turned these children into ravenous killer mutants, but I am disappointed at the wasted potential Chernobyl offered the filmmakers. Again, the film could have used Uri's heart.
There are 439 operating nuclear power plants in the world today, and that leaves me uneasy. This movie only leaves me uneasy about the state of film. It's as though Chernobyl Diaries was produced by a pro-nuclear committee: blame is shifted elsewhere, and the whole thing is easily forgettable. Cue the Supergrass.
BY D.P. Clark (a writer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I think that's a key question you have to ask yourself. If you need to see visceral, bloody horror and horrific make-up and cgi directly in your face in order to be scared, then CHERNOBYL DIARIES is not for you.
This is a horror movie that is more for the "What you don't see is even scarier then what you do see" crowd.
I felt like this was a very well-shot, tense thriller. The atmosphere of the film quite effectively isolated and creepy.
The ending is a bit on the weak side, but it doesn't trump the journey to get there.
This is a great little flick to watch in a darkened theatre with a bag of buttered popcorn.