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Reviews & Ratings for
Chernobyl Diaries More at IMDbPro »

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83 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

Great Idea Poor Execution

Author: Megan Jones from United Kingdom
27 June 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,

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124 out of 194 people found the following review useful:

What scares you?

Author: drew_atreides from Ontario, Canada
26 May 2012

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.

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195 out of 337 people found the following review useful:

I live in Ukraine, I was in Chernobyl,Prypyat. I know what it is!

Author: roasthead from Ukraine, Kiev
27 May 2012

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!!!

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85 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

Chernobyl Diaries: Disastrous Waste

Author: DON NUKE T.O. from Canada
29 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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)

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102 out of 164 people found the following review useful:

Not as horrible as everyone's saying

Author: Tyler Grubbs
28 May 2012

This movie honestly isn't as bad as everyone's rating it. Sure, it had some predictable scenes and bad acting, but this isn't supposed to be a serious movie. If you going to see it with the mindset of it being deep and intellectual, you are more than likely not going to enjoy it. It uses tension to scare you more than anything else. Not very much gore and violence. It's worth seeing, despite everyone's reviews. I didn't know what was going to happen next for the majority of the movie. If you have to choose between this and "Cabin In The Woods" you should definitely see cabin. This, however, is worth seeing as well. I hope people who go to see this won't be expecting a intriguing movie with a deep story, and just go for the sheer excitement of the film.

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38 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Kill them already!!

Author: audacity10 from United Kingdom
12 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Straight to the point: Chernobyl Diaries has some of the worst acting/script/motivations I have seen in a movie, along with incredibly predictable 'scares'. YET, it has probably the best untapped location of any horror.

From the offset, you're introduced to some 'cool' kids who'll annoy the hell out of you immediately. Nothing is believable, none of the characters connect with you or each other. I hated the characters so much I was literally waiting for them to be lynched by the monsters. The only characters/actors I appreciated was a tour guy who takes them to Chernobyl and a hippie Australian who tags along with his hollow girlfriend.

Not surprising (and this was the reason I went to see the movie) was the fact the movie improved ten-fold when they arrive in Chernobyl. The location is astonishingly eerie and you can easily believe the myths of mutants living there. Here the film actually becomes scary to some extent and you feel yourself tensing up.

Until of course, the actors interrupt your concentration with some appalling, predictable stuff.

And so the finale winds down with your typical 'running blindly (literally at the very end), being chased by hordes of evil freaks'. And characters don't die so much as get whisked away into the darkness. Whenever the movie builds up to something scary, it's always undone by a disappointing result, leaving you a little bit deflated each time.

So that's what I thought. I would love to recommend this film for the location alone, but I could never, ever, recommend you see this film for anything else.

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48 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

nothing to see here, move along folks

Author: dutchchocolatecake from United States
27 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a fan of the Paranormal Activity franchise; and I also own a copy of Paranormal Entity - a rip off from the original I had the guilty pleasure of actually enjoying. I was surprised to see the writer of P.A. and the rip off P.E. working together to make Chernobyl Diaries. So ignoring the bad reviews (and my better judgment) I took a chance to see if the movie would live up to it's potential.

Like a lot of people, I thought the trailer looked interesting and thought it had good potential. The problem is, the movie is just an extended version of the trailer. There is nothing else to expect from it. Cliché characters and a cliché set of monsters that were ripped from the Hills Have Eyes. There's really no plot either, what you see in the trailer is exactly what you get. An hour and a half of trailer.

Several parts made no sense, either. Such as:

1. The group of people were there at least a day and a half - yet nobody complained about being hungry or thirsty. If I were scared, running around, breathing hard; I would have the nastiest case of cotton mouth. Yet they all seem appear and act well nourished and hydrated. The story starts out as a day trip, yet nobody could be bothered to pack a cooler for lunch. Doh!

2. There's a scene where a bear surprises them, but runs right by as if it doesn't see anyone. Nobody gets cornered, mauled, or put in danger in any way. It just runs by them and they leave the building like someone farted rather than being in mortal danger.

3. The "monsters" in this movie are simply people who have been the victims of secret experiments of a nature undisclosed to the audience. So like any 1950s b-rated horror movie, we're supposed to take it on faith that simply because they are mutated humans; they are by their nature are irrational, murderous, and cannibalistic. Logic would deduce that being kept in a lab all your life would give you a taste for cardboard pizza, not human flesh.

4. We never get to see what they actually look like. All they are is a blur of pale bald heads and dark uniforms. Now, I am all for the "Less is more" approach to FX; but it would have been nice to see a scene where they stumble on a dead one so the audience can get a good look at exactly what the protagonists are dealing with. I left the movie theater feeling ripped off because I could barely see what the characters were running from all that time.

5. Stereotyping sucks. The portrayal of Slavic people as rough speaking brutes is annoying and insulting. The portrayal of young women as carefree partiers from Girls Gone Wild is annoying and insulting. It's been done to death in every freaking horror movie since god knows when. Give it a rest already.

6. Yuri seems to know more than what he's letting on, yet there is no twist to his character. I half expected to see him pop up later in the movie (until they found his body, that is) and expose himself as an agent in the entire mess. That at least, would have been *something* to break up the monotony.

In conclusion, this movie wasted it's own potential. The tricks that worked in the Paranormal Activity/Paranormal Entity movies do not work here. It works for a ghost, or a demon, but not a flesh and blood menace. I give this a 3 for competent acting and for a fast moving plot that at least doesn't *feel* like a complete waste of time (even though it is).

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61 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

Nuclear Disappointment

Author: rgkarim from United States
25 May 2012

Another horror movie has donned upon us this holiday weekend and it is called the Chernobyl Diaries. The first trailer I saw for this movie about a month and half ago showed some potential for a true horror fest. However, I'll tell you now that this was not the case, and instead the movie I saw today was nothing more than a hastily produced horror movie that was rather lame. I know it's disappointing, but the truth is Chernobyl diaries like most horror movies are losing their edge. Read on to find out more about this movie.

For those of you who haven't seen the trailers for this movie, Chernobyl diaries is about a group of seven college kids taking a trip to the Chernobyl reactors. What starts out as a peaceful trip full of picture taking and jokes soon takes a turn for the worst. It seems that Chernobyl is not as abandoned as they think and soon the nightmare within decides to hunt the kids through the destroyed city.

Sound familiar? It should since this is the story for a plethora of horror movie it's just taking place at a new location. So what suckered me into seeing it? Aside from being assigned this movie, I admit the traps seen in the trailer held potential for a decent and entertaining horror flick. Unfortunately the trailers are once again misleading as Chernobyl Diaries fails to live up to the publicized suspense. Instead the movie is essentially a nonstop cascade of scenes and sequences of the incredibly shallow characters running around from some unseen threat. The camera work of the movie is chaotic, Blair Witch and Cloverfield style that is unsteady and jumpy, which took away from the detail. I think they mainly did this to help keep the monsters true from in the dark and allow the audience's imagination to fill into the details. While the attempt is worthy of recognition, Parker dropped the ball on the delivery making it too fast and shallow. Although the fast pace got us to the ending faster, it still made the movie boring as the story progressed.

One thought I had after watching this film was maybe Parker was planning on the movie being humorous, like the Cabin in The Woods. Unfortunately the comedy aspect of this film was lost on me as well. The stupidity of the college kids and the predictable path they take only made me laugh at how pathetic they were. Unfortunately the dialog was unable to humor me as well and mainly consisted of the kids saying "Oh my God!" or dropping an F bomb, further adding to the disappointment. This dialog combined with the shallow characters also meant the acting didn't have to be that good as well. Although the actors played the college kid roll well, the acting was nothing extraordinary and isn't enough to convince me to suggest this movie. As for the ending of the film, well to put it nicely it stunk. Once again I was left with questions and a bit cheated out of my money. While I feel some will like the ending or find it funny, I can't say I enjoyed it all.

Were there any positives to this movie? For me there were only some minor positives I could find. Although I normally don't like the ashy grey and desolate camera colors, I felt for this movie they were needed. This camera filter brought the desolate and hopeless city to life, which added some emotional chill to the film. A few of the shots also managed to capture the isolation and terror they wanted, though they were few and far in between. Despite the simple acting, the actresses in the movie were very nice to look at and was the only thing really keeping me in the movie. Finally the short time limit of the movie was for once a good thing as I got out of this movie faster than I expected.

To sum up this movie, it's one best left to the Redbox. Although I applaud their use of letting the imagination paint the horror, the delivery still failed to impress me. Again there are no characters to latch on to in this film, and unless you just want to see lots of shadows and hear countless cursing, you will want to avoid this. My scores below are the following:

Horror: 3.0-3.5 Movie Overall: 2.5

So check back soon my friends and again keep on enjoying the movies. Or at least try to.

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60 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

It's The Descent set in Chernobyl with the quality dial turned down to 20%.

Author: TheSquiss
28 June 2012

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

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43 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

A deplorable horror film

Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
2 August 2012

The beginning of Chernobyl Diaries makes us believe it will be another pseudo-documentary film in which the characters tape their own adventures (or dis-adventures). However, a few minutes later, we find out that the film was in fact shot on the conventional way, so there will be no need to worry about the drawbacks we have already found in various films made with that technique. Unfortunately, what will worry us is the lack of a good screenplay, of solid performances, or of a competent direction. The result is 86 unbearable minutes of bad actors screaming, failed attempts to scare us, and an incredibly bland and lazy screenplay.

The characters from Chernobyl Diaries don't wake any interest, in part because they are poorly written, and in part because the actors lack of any credibility and presence in their roles. As a result, the characters are so hateful that I wished them to die as soon as possible. And what is more, the plot from this film is totally uninteresting, and Bradley Parker's direction is atrocious. In short, Chernobyl Diaries is a soporific and deplorable experience. And the least I say about the abrupt and improbable ending, the better.

So, in conclusion, it's needless to say that my recommendation is for you to stay away from this pathetic piece of crap. In order to take the bitter taste out of my mouth, I think I'm going to play again the brilliant level of the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in which the ghost city of Prypiat (where Chernobyl Diaries is set) was reproduced with quite a realism. I think it offers, in 15 minutes, the suspense and excitement Chernobyl Diaries couldn't achieve in 86 minutes.

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