Chernobyl Diaries – Movie Review

**Spoilers ahead – stop reading if you plan to see this movie **

Remember that movie The Hills Have Eyes. Yeah, like that…only somewhere else.

It was okay. Not a BAD movie. But not good or suspenseful/scary. It was just very standard. Which is sad, because it’s such an interesting concept. I mean, it’s a movie about the victims of the worst nuclear disaster in history going rogue and killing everyone…how could that not be scary and awesome?

How? Mostly because it wasn’t really about Chernobyl at all. That was just the setting. Very, very little time (almost none) was spent talking about the disaster and how it effected the people of Prypiat (the actual stage of where the movie is supposed to take place.) Instead they focused on random wolfs, grizzly bears and flesh eating fish. None of which added anything to the movie. Then people ran around in the dark.

Perhaps the “radioactive killer inhabitants” would have been scary if makers of this movie had focused a little on what happened and why it was so horrifying. Instead we barely get clued in to the fact that that is what is indeed chasing them in the dark. I get that in most horror flicks, what you don’t know or see is what is scariest. In this case, it was just lame.

I would like to think that this angle was taken to be a little respectful to the real life victims of the nuclear fallout…but somehow, I doubt it. I think it was just too much concept and not enough actual writing.

There was no real plot, or driving force to make you care about the supposed victims or the supposed monsters, but the setting was so creepy and mesmerizing that it did redeem the movie at least a little for me. There is something so unsettling and foreboding about abandoned buildings and cities. The way they are reclaimed by nature and yet remain so obviously man made. It’s a concrete visual of man’s own immortality and impermanence on this planet.  Not to mention the back story (which the writer must have assumed we all know all about) of what happened there automatically stirs an emotional reaction.

And yes, I realize that this is a sensitive topic and many find the whole concept of this movie to be in bad taste. I can’t really argue against that sentiment…

On a related note, I saw this in the headlines this morning:
Uh Oh: Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Appear on the Coast of California

I find this far scarier than anything that happened in that movie.

2 thoughts on “Chernobyl Diaries – Movie Review

  1. FYI: If you would like an entertaining look at the real Chernobyl tragedy, there are a few chapters in my novel “Rad Decision” which tell the story in a way a lay person can folllow along. The book is free online (no advertisements or sponsors) at , with the Chernobyl section linked at the homepage. I work in the US nuclear industry.

  2. Oh boy! Spam 🙂
    Interesting images and information about the Chernobyl tragedy are not hard to come by…
    Also, “lay person”? You know this is the internet, right?

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