Chernobyl Diaries Recap

Jamie

A bunch of dumbos take a tour into a town near Chernobyl. Like dumbos they get trapped there and then must do battle with the mutant denizens of the town. Can these dumb-dumbs stop being dumb and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Chernobyl Diaries. (If you’ve seen the movie, take the quiz as well! Test you nuclear disaster knowledge against the best of the best i.e. Jamie).

How?! Ah, to be young and dumb… emphasis on the dumb. Travelling Europe our heroes, Chris, Natalie and Amanda, make a stop in Kiev to visit Chris’s brother Paul. They mean to proceed from there to Moscow where Chris will propose to Natalie. Unfortunately Paul is super dumb and is like, “Forget proposing, bro. Let’s go to Chernobyl instead. Rad, right?” Nope. Not rad. Yet all these dumb-dumbs are like “Yup, obviously sounds amazing. We’ll get some super cool pix near that nuclear disaster. Good idea.” They join up with a tour group and head to the town, which is seemingly just an empty looking European town filled with wild dogs and a bear. Which I guess is terrifying in a non-horror film kind of way. Anyway, when they attempt to leave (presumably because they realize that they were super dumb) they find that their van has been sabotaged (a saboteur!) and they can’t leave until morning. While waiting their guide goes to investigate a noise and is killed and Chris is seriously injured. Realizing that Chris needs medical help they attempt to reach a checkpoint outside town only to be chased by dogs. When they finally make it back to the van it’s been attacked and Chris and Natalie are gone. They attempt a daring rescue only to be surrounded by mutants that have been living nearby. Their numbers are slowly whittled down until only Paul and Amanda remain. When they emerge from the reactor area they have severe radiation poisoning and are corralled by local authorities. It’s revealed that the mutants are escapees from a government experiment and we end with Amanda being thrown into that experiment to die… or perhaps become one of the mutants… or something. Bum bum bum! THE END

Why?! Did you not see where I said they were young and dumb? Isn’t that enough? You get a little backstory on the characters to show that Chris and his brother have had a rough relationship. Seems like Paul is always screwing up and Chris is always getting into trouble because of Paul. Unfortunately none of this is resolved in this film as Paul does the same thing here and everyone dies so… oh well. As for the mutants, well… they’re mutants!

What?! I do enjoy looking for products in these films just to see how much they tried given the very specific European locations. This gets an F right off the bat with a clear Telekom Srbija truck driving by in an early scene. As it sounds this is a telecommunications company servicing Serbia… where this film was actually filmed… not Ukraine. Even weirder is the beers they drink while partying it up in Ukraine: Bavaria 0.0%. This is a German beer but also a non-alcoholic beer… which is either because the actors couldn’t drink real beer in the scene or hints at a deeper backstory to our intrepid heroes. I choose the latter.

Who?! I literally had no idea the main character Chris was played by former boy band singer and child actor Jesse McCartney until I was looking around for this section of the email. Keep it up, my man, we always welcome more singers-turned-actors here at BMTHQ.

Where?! Ukraine all day never to be beaten (probably). It’s basically a perfect mapl.de.map film. Set in a weird location that is an integral part of the plot and in the title. A++ if I ever saw one.

When?! I do not know. I looked back through the film and didn’t get a glimpse at when this might take place. We certainly didn’t get anything after they got to the abandoned city… since it was abandoned. F.

I thought this movie was terrible. Not quite as bad as some of our least favorite BMT found footage horror films, but generally one of the most useless films we’ve watched in a while. I actually struggle to understand what the purpose of the entire affair was and why so much time was spent arguing and running away from wild animals rather than, you know, running away from mutants and discussing the presence of said mutants. This gets to the point where it’s very confusing as to exactly what the mutants were and why they existed (which is not a good thing since Patrick and I close watch these films). It also doesn’t help that the characters were so dumb (even for a horror film where all the characters are usually pretty dumb). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross the heart-pounding disorienting fear from Paranormal Activity, with the gripping stranger in a strange land horror of Hostel? Wait … this isn’t a found footage film? And it isn’t torture porn? Hmmm, yeah, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Let’s get into it!

The Good – Seeing Pripyat was cool. Basically the idea behind the movie is incredibly obvious. Chernobyl is legendary in a very unique way, a nuclear disaster leaving a desolate city in the former Soviet Union. Just sets up for a zombie apocalypse type movie with a creepy atmosphere on the cheap. And congrats you guys did it, you made a movie in Pripyat.

P’s View on the Preview – Going into the film I was mainly struck with surprise that the film wasn’t a found footage film. I could have sworn it was going into it. So seeing a movie that, in my mind, would have worked better as found footage being forced into something perhaps closer in style and tone to Hostel I thought would be interesting. It isn’t like Hostel either though … I actually am not sure I’ve seen a movie quite like this, although I’m sure there are stranger-in-a-strange-land type horror films shot in the traditional manner.

The Bad – I think this film would have worked a lot better as a found footage film. Given that I heavily dislike found footage films that … is not a compliment. The movie is incredibly dull, the “monster” part of the film is unimaginative and just feels cheap, and the twist ending didn’t work. The characters are so dumb it kind of ruins the whole affair.

Sklogification – The biggest crime of the film is, naturally, how stupid the characters are, epitomized by Chris leaving the van in order to … well to cripple himself and throw the tour into disarray. Let’s say instead he doesn’t leave the van. Now instead the whole band is mobile. Dawn breaks, they know where to go (Uri, the tour guide, naturally has a map), and they know it is 13 miles away. And they are off to the races. First chased by dogs, and then getting turned around by a mysterious band of men carrying Uri’s gun (uh oh are they friend or foe?). As they are picked off one by one can they make the checkpoint in time? … I like it more at least. Racing along a lonely road hoping to get to your destination in an abandoned city with wild animals. I wouldn’t even touch the mutant thing, too obvious, not to say offensive. Just the fear of whether what you are seeing is some urban legend come to life or guards protecting an abandoned city.

The BMT – Terrible. The movie is boring. For me, a person who has come to appreciate good horror films (partly by watching so many bad ones), this isn’t even bad. It merely brings nothing to the game. The more I think on it though the more I wonder about the tourist part of it … makes me want to watch An American Werewolf in London.

StreetCreditReport.com – Turns out critics agreed with me as none of them even bothered to report on this film as far as 2012 went. Even where there was 25 films in some of these lists there was no mention. I looked up the worst horror films and found this list interesting actually … because the guy calls the film found footage … it is not. It is traditionally shot. Bizarre.

No homework as has become usual it seems.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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