Twenty-six years ago, the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster struck the Western portion of the then U.S.S.R. and parts of Europe claiming thousands of lives and infecting even more with cancer. Almost three decades later, the man behind the hit Paranormal Activity creates a horror involving the remnants of the abandoned radioactive site. Are you game?
Chernobyl Diaries takes you along with six tourists who bravely, or foolishly, take an unofficial tour of the abandoned city. Things take a turn for the worse and they find more in the city than abandoned buildings and cars.
What is interesting about the movie is its attempted original concept from Oren Peli. Peli and two co-screenwriters pieced together a situation that makes you feel as if it could possibly happen. Sure things aren’t perfect, but their screenplay does provide a fun suspenseful scream-worthy ride.
Choosing first time director Bradley Parker (a visual effects artist for films like Fight Club) was a wise choice. Parker uses handheld camera work throughout the movie, but never gets carried away with shaking the camera resulting in a theatre full of observers suffering from motion sickness (hope the makers of the next Hunger Games movie are taking lessons).
Finding talent most people will not recognize has become a trademark for Peli’s movies. Considering what was asked of them, the cast did a fairly good job with the script and the amount of action involved.
In the end, this will not provide the fright-fest Paranormal Activity did, but it does take you on journey you’ll find unsettling the first time around. After that, you’ll find the replay value takes a dive off a towering cliff.
Bottom Line: Worth watching once if you’re in the mood for a creepy scare.
Runtime: 90 minutes