REVIEW: CHERNOBYL DIARIES
SYNOPSIS: "Chernobyl Diaries" is an original story from Oren Peli, who first terrified audiences with his groundbreaking thriller, "Paranormal Activity."
The film follows a group of six young vacationers who, looking to go off the beaten path, hire an "extreme" tour guide. Ignoring warnings, he takes them into the city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, but a deserted town since the disaster more than 25 years ago.
After a brief exploration of the abandoned city, however, the group soon finds themselves stranded, only to discover that they are not alone...
REVIEW: If one could essentially take the horror flick The Hills have Eyes and merge it together with Quentin Tarantino’s Hostel, one would come up with a plot identical to Chernobyl Diaries. The beginning half of the movie was very dawdling and very much reminiscent of opening scenes of Tarantino’s Hostel (minus the Tarantino’s trademark blood and gore). Additionally, moving in to the second half of the movie, the adventurous group of American youngsters traveling in Europe experienced a nightmarish encounter, not unlike The Hills Have Eyes. Needless to say, this apparent hybrid flick did not measure up to either of the aforementioned flicks.
I found the acting to be mediocre and the plot line very much overdone. The lineup of, virtually very little known actors, did diminish the appeal of the movie. The characters seem to not fit together, especially when introducing the foreign actors of the movie. As previously mentioned, the storyline played out extremely sluggish and it seemed to take forever to get to any action. Very little was left up to the imagination of the viewer and things would become pretty much predictable once the action kicked off, with the only exceptions being what the killers actually looked like and the ending sequence of the movie.
As a horror film enthusiast, I had to ask myself, “how could Oren Peli virtually screw-up the concept of toxic radioactive Russian zombies?” One could imagine that the concept would be a walk-in-the-park, considering the former Soviet Union’s history of nuclear armament and disasters. It’s not a far stretch to imagine what malformed beings would be like, deriving from the nuclear disaster that befell the Ukrainian town of Prypait. Nevertheless, there was never a time during the entire movie, that the audience was able to process what deformities belie the human victims of the disaster. In other words, as a horror flick, a close up or two of the antagonists would promote the aim of the movie, which hopefully would horrify audiences, but to no avail. Therefore, the scariest part of the movie came from the anticipation of what happens next, in the action scenes. Usually fizzling out, by the way!
There were few positives of the movie not nearly worth mentioning, one of which was the Ukranian born Dimitri Diatchenko, whose prior work is mostly in video game voice overs. He could get a bit of a career boost from the flick and was possibly the most interesting “good-guy” character of the film. He played Uri the “Extreme Tourism” tour guide whose tours, of the devastated area, were actually more interesting than the movie itself. Moreover, the location of the movie afforded itself as being prime locale for such a film concept. This was probably the only good choice made, by the makers of the movie.
Overall, I am being generous when I give this movie three stars and I would suggest that the horror flick aficionado wait for the DVD release.
By Movie-Man Stan
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