Ghost towns have fascinating stories. I myself have visited several out here in California, mostly western towns. They’ve become stuck in time, whenever the people abandoned it. They evolve with the land, becoming a rotting, rusted image to what it was before. Some people have cleaned them up, taking advantage of the history and creating a museum like experience. Places like Calico and Bodie (both in California) are ghost towns that became the way they are because of economical problems. There are thousands of abandoned cities worldwide. The story of Chernobyl Diaries takes us to Ukraine.
Within the land of the former Soviet Union, lies a town that was the sight of the worst nuclear disaster. In 1986, an explosion in the Chernobyl plant resulted in releasing a radioactive cloud that covered Europe. In the shadow of the facility was the town of Pripyat, home of the workers and their families. The radiation caused it to be evacuated, leaving everything behind, including cars, tools, and even children’s toys. Today, it remains a relic as a factor in the decline of the Soviet Union. The images I’ve seen look very interesting, and I would love to visit this place. As long as I don’t become one of the mutants.
Of course I know that no of that is true. But by throwing in affected mutants from the blast, it almost seems insulting to the many lives lost before. Wouldn’t be like making a movie about the World Trade Center attacks with zombies? What a stupid movie.
Our horror movie follows four young adults that are traveling around Europe and decide to go urban exploring. Of course, they end up in Priyat, and become trapped here. There’s no surprise about this, but the movie drags the first act way too long before we find out there’s no return. For almost thirty-five minutes, we are given uninspired characters that you know is food for the monsters. And once things pick up, you would think a premise like this would at least provide some good scares? Wrong! This movie suffers the “shaky camera” problem and you don’t ever get a good look at the mutants. In fact, I was confused over the shooting style. It seems like the movie wanted to be a found footage like documentary, but there are angle shots; I guess changed their minds in the middle and wanted to make a feature.
Chernobyl Diaries is an amateur’s attempt of a scary movie and it really shows. There’s uneven pacing, horrible dialog, dreadful photography, and can’t even create a moment of suspense. Most of the time, I felt like I was going through a Halloween maze at Knott’s Berry Farm. Except this one forgot to bring the scares. In fact, why did they even want to do a horror concept with this. I want to hear the real story of Chernobyl and the affect it had on the motherland.
I’ll give this one and a half radioactive bunnies out of five. They should have left this in the fallout shelter where it belongs. I’m sure that the real town and its history is better then this. So skip the movie, and real a book about the blast instead.