Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chernobly Diaries Review-- What NOT to See This Weekend

So as an avid horror movie lover, I fully expect to have to take the good with the bad. Good horror movies are the cinematic needle in the haystack, as the genre tends towards the formulaic and unoriginal.When my best friend and I saw the preview for Chernobyl Diaries, we were excited as the premise seemed to be something a bit original. As we made plans to go see the film, we discussed how it had such potential, and we hoped it didn't follow in the footsteps of the abysmally bad The Hills Have Eyes, which opted for gratuitous rape and pointless violence over having a point at all.

The good news is that the Chernobyl Diaries did not follow down the path of sacrificing plot in favor or violence and rape. There was almost no on-camera violence. The bad news is that this sacrifice was not in the name of building a plot, as there was none of that on camera either.

Lazy and ineffectual character development took up a solid twenty or thirty minutes of this short film, all of which boiled down to younger brother Chris railing against the antics of his elder Paul, who's bad-boy-with-a-mischievous-heart-of-gold image took cliche to the level of archetype. Then there are some girls, and a token Australian, but they are all pretty much filler.

And so all of our stock characters pile in a car for a little visit to Chernobyl, the draw of which is never really defined. And there are all of these urban legends about Chernobyl (and Wikipedia confirms that some pretty awful mutation stories abound) that could have added quite nicely to the eeriness of the film had they been introduced at any point prior to five minutes before the climax.

After touring the abandoned adjoining town, our team of unlikable and unremarkable people get back in the van to realize that the wires have been chewed through and they have no way of getting out. So this takes us to about 2/3 of the way through the movie and, that's it.

Seriously, folks, that is where any attempt at a story fades off to a bunch of running around, cussing and freaking out with no direction. The crew of hapless and annoying travelers is tormented by wild dogs and lurking people that you never see... Can't tell you if these are deformed mutation victims, or just regular sadists, because there isn't a clean shot of our villains in the movie.

There is a whole lot of our lead characters running through the dark, with the frame light only by nauseatingly bumpy flashlight beams. And one by one, they get picked off... we think... because we never actually see anything after they disappear.

The end result: The Chernobyl Diaries presents a premise, not a plot, and so many technical errors that I didn't even pay much attention to the trite dialogue and weak acting. Definitely one to skip.


  1. You are so very kind, thanks so much for the connection, Carole.