When a group of four wide-eyed, bushy tailed American travellers decide that their backpacking adventure needs to be more extreme, none of them expect the nightmare ahead of them. Silly really, had none of them ever seen a horror movie before? This is pretty standard stuff for travellers.
After a detour is suggested to visit Pripyat, the abandoned city after the nuclear four reactor exploded leaving devastation in its wake, the friends team up with a local tour guide and another eager couple to see this sad landmark.
After a few strange sightings in the day, they decide to head back but when their van fails start they’re forced to stay the night. The weird sightings only get more bizarre and the nightmare becomes an insane reality for them all.
When it comes to basing a film on something like the Chernobyl disaster, which is still affecting people today, a little tact needs to be exercised and although initially this sounds like it could be the basis for a chilling horror, the route the writers have chosen to take means the end product is simply crass, boring and obvious.
Due to the absolute lack of tension and scares, when the credits roll you’ll be left thinking, “Was that it?” Especially since that, for the gory outlandish horror it seems to promise, there are very few onscreen deaths. This device usually works in building tension and at times makes things seem worse than they are, however there’s no connection to any characters on screen so we may as well see them all get picked off, but we don’t even get that.
Chernobyl Diaries may have had potential but it decided to take a cheap and easy route and it fails to achieve any new ground. This film was done better 35 years ago; all you’ll end up wanting to do when Chernobyl Diaries is over is revisit a horror classic. Wes Craven will probably have a thank you basket on the way to director Bradley Parker even as you read this.