Chernobyl Diaries

Director: Bradley Parker (2012)
Starring: Olivia Dudley, Jesse McCartney, Nathan Phillips
Find it: IMDB

Dear diary. Today, Bruce Willis was in me. Then there was a bear, six stupid kids and a really massive Russian dude. And monsters. I'm not sure who Cher Nobyl is, but her diaries have been adapted for this movie. A gang of tourists decide to 'go extreme', visiting the ruins of a village in Chernobyl. Packing into the back of their hulking Russian tour guide's van, the kids enjoy themselves at first. It's all fun and games until a bear comes rampaging through the room. Sure, the bear's the best of it, but it's not the least of their problems. When the van breaks down, youngsters and tour guide alike are left stranded in Chernobyl. And as darkness falls, it becomes apparent that they're not the only ones...

Set at the scene of one of the world's greatest tragedies, there's a chance that Chernobyl Diaries might be offensive to someone. Whatever next? The Auschwitz Chronicles? (if that is next, Hollywood, I want a credit. And paycheck. Although it's still in bad taste) Still, it's not as bad as Bruce Willis blowing up a helicopter with a truck in A Good Day to Die Hard, so at least it has that going for it. And it's a good movie, which is also more than we can say for A Good Day to Die Hard. There's Rammstein on the soundtrack, too. You can never go wrong with Rammstein.

As their visit to Chernobyl takes in such sights as a block of flats and a river, the kids have a whale of a time. A few of them even take a romantic photo posing by the ruins. My own preference would in Bruges or Switzerland but sure, Chernobyl works too. Among the pretty young things is Nathan Phillips, playing more or less the same role he did in Wolf Creek and everything else he's been in. The youths are fine, but they're all bettered by Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko) and the bear.

Written by Oren Peli, of Paranormal Activity fame, and employing a familiar concept, it's entirely surprising that Chernobyl Diaries isn't a found footage movie. That it's not makes it a lot more watchable than I had expected it to be. It's nowhere near as good as Urban Explorers (which has a similar idea but different nature of villainy) but is still better than most. The setting helps, steeped in real-life tragedy and looking so very atmospheric and moody. It doesn't have the greatest Half-Life (it'll be forgotten within a few years) but nor is it as toxic as most other mainstream horror releases these days.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on this one. Chernobyl Diaries isn't a good film but by far not as bad as I thought it would be.

    Kudos for "The Auschwitz Chronicles" ;)