‘Chernobyl Diaries’ – Documentaries on the accident are scarier

Directed by Bradley Parker (2012)
Don’t you hate when you see a trailer and it’s so much more entertaining than the film? This my friends is one of those times. A few months ago when I saw the trailer for Chernobyl DiariesI got sort of excited, a little excited – well excited as I can get without a cocktail these days. I sat in the theater thinking in about 20 minutes Chernobyl Diaries is going to get cooking, 10 minutes later I’m thinking, ok something big is going to happen. Skip to the final act and I’m still thinking this ending is going to be great; it’s going to make up for the previous hour-long boredom. And sadly it did not.

Yes, there’s a “twist.” But, the twist is just – BORING! I’ll explain that statement more in a minute.

Let’s just rehash the details of the film, shall we. Several friends touring Europe stumble into misadventure and end up stranded in Prypiat, the Ukrainian city abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster. Their bad situation gets worse when they realize that something else is lurking in the ghost city. Lies. In the great trailer for Chernobyl Diaries we are shown a creepy little kid standing on a dark Ukrainian road looking menacing. There was a butcher looking guy standing on a stairwell looking unseemly. Let’s just say more shots of creepy little kids and scary butchers would have helped this movie tremendously.

Instead we get these plot points that are never explained, for instance two of the tourists are brothers one apparently is a black sheep and the other is apparently a good guy with a heart of gold. The black sheep actually lives Russia – for business perhaps, but he’s been in town long enough he speaks the language. We spend a bit of the first part of the movie letting us know this, in the end there is no significance to this at all. The night before the adventure the group has an encounter with some locals that almost turns violent. There was no reason for this encounter at all but to fill screen time and I suppose it’s backstory for backstory’s sake. There is also a scene during the trip into Prypiat, where we encounter a lake filled with mutant fish, we never discuss them again. This again seems to serve no purpose. I guess this is to show us the effect the radiation had on the environment, but again nothing is done with this either.

Spoiler Alert!! Like I mentioned previously there were these vague shots of “people” that leads you to believe they are running around the abandoned Ukrainian town snatching people up Antonie Dobson style, but that’s not completely the case. They are indeed ripping people to shreds, I’m still not clear why. They are not eating them or looking for brains like zombies, just ripping them apart. I guess for shits and giggles.

We learn in the final act these are patients that escaped from what I can only assume is the Ukrainian government?? We are never explained if the patients are mutated because of the fallout from the Chernobyl accident or if the government is experimenting on them for some reason. It’s a twist that doesn’t answer any questions, but leads to a big one for the audience and not in a good way.

A friend of the site April Taylor (check her out here) brought it to my attention that the filmmakers of a film titled Prypiat are currently running a campaign accusing the producers of Chernobyl Diaries of stealing their idea. If you view the trailer for the unfinished film in my best unfounded legal opinion they definitely seem to have a case. The trailers are almost identical. But, the problem of stealing ideas is only meniscal to the fact the film Chernobyl Diaries is just boring. My only hope is that the original plot of Prypiat is better and we might get a good movie out of it. Unless you enjoy yawning wait until this hits cable before you watch it.

Chernobyl Diaries is currently in theaters.

Psst: The last review done for the site was not our best work as someone happily pointed out on Twitter, but not to make excuses it was done on the commute home from an insane day. In other words cut us some slack, this site is still overall for fun and we never claimed we were Roger Ebert. If you want Shakespearian prose it’s my suggestion you go elsewhere. Just know a tired moment got the best of us and bad copy is not inductive of Horrorfatale.com. Phew, we’re off our soap box and back to our regular scheduled shenanigans. Carry on.