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.
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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
Oren Peli first thought of the idea for the story when he saw a photo blog posted by a girl traveling through Pripyat on a motorcycle [elenafilatova.com]. See more »
While searching for Uri, Michael, Paul and Amanda follow a drag trail into an abandoned building. The trail disappears completely from the dusty ground while they are in the kitchen talking, only to reappear in the next shot when they resume the search. See more »
It's The Descent set in Chernobyl with the quality dial turned down to 20%.
There's a long version of this review and a short version. You're getting the short version because Chernobyl Diaries really isn't worth the effort.
If you haven't watched the trailer, do so. It's unnerving, it shows great promise, the location shots look great and the big selling point the distributors push is that it's from the pen of Oren Peli who scarred the hell out of me with Paranormal Activity and it's imaginatively titled sequel, Paranormal Activity 2 (I resisted the lure of the ball-tightening third installment). Unfortunately, the full 86 minute feature acts only to dilute the impact.
That Chernobyl Diaries is the directorial debut of visual effects man Bradley Parker is great news for him but not so much for us. The only original aspect of this film is the setting and he's brought nothing new or exciting to this dark party. Not even sufficient lighting to enable the audience to see. Forget dim lighting to enhance the atmosphere, this is darkness to shroud the tedium.
Set in the present day, it paints the entirely predictable story of a group of young travellers who venture into the utterly deserted, uninhabited, nobody-has-been-there-in-years wastelands created by the 1986 nuclear disaster for a spot of extreme tourism. Easy peasy. Except it may not be quite as deserted as they expect and the nuclear radiation may have something do with it. Dumb dumb duuuuum It's The Descent set in Chernobyl with the quality dial turned down to 20%.
Why would you? Forget Chernobyl Diaries and revisit, or experience it if you missed the cinema release, the superior The Descent; it's far scarier, far better scripted, it's British and the Production Designer, my mate Simon Bowles, utterly rocks For more reviews from The Squiss subscribe to my blog at www.thesquiss.co.uk
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