Chernobyl Diaries is the newest screenplay from Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli. It follows six tourists on an unexpected "extreme tourism" trip to the abandoned town of Prypiat, Ukraine near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Upon the conclusion of the tour they encounter their worst fears inside the abandoned and condemned town when they discover that they are not alone.
I went into this movie knowing practically nothing. I had seen news of it on Bloody-Disgusting and on other websites where I read movie news and I honestly thought it was a direct to DVD release that they were just trying to hype up. I watched the trailer for it, shrugged, and moved on. When a friend of mine texted me on Saturday asking if I wanted to see it I was shocked to hear it actually had a theatrical release.
I must admit that for a movie like this I was quite entertained. Of course it is a typical horror plot with dumb American tourists and stuff like that, but despite that it wasn't all that bad. There weren't really any effects to speak of (other than make-up), the atmosphere of the abandoned town near Chernobyl was pretty eerie, and I absolutely loved that you never get a full glance at the inhabitants. You know the tourists aren't alone and you see glimpses of the inhabitants but there is not a straight shot of one where the viewer can say, "oh damn!" That is a rare quality in current horror movies and I appreciate the hell out of that. It's not like Don't Be Afraid of the Dark where they show glimpses of the creatures and then show them in almost every scene from then on.
The main thing I didn't much care for, that I don't care for in general, is the use of jump scares. Maybe it's just because jump scares don't work for me but there were lots of them in this movie. I think they cheapen the film. Plus, the shaky camera trick was way overused. There is one part where four of the people find a cell phone with a recording of the other two and it was so shaky and spinning around I thought I was going to get a migraine. Other than that I can't really think of anything I could say I hated, though.
Overall I would say this is a fun one. I had fun seeing it in theaters and don't feel like I wasted money, so I would say go for it in theaters before it disappears. If you don't want to see it in a theater definitely go for it on DVD. It wasn't a waste and I am kind of surprised to be saying that.
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