Director: Bradley Parker
Stars: Jesse McCartney,Olivia Dudley & Jonathan Sadowski
Film #15 of The December Project
After the profitable smash hit that was 'Paranormal Activity', Oren Peli has been able to get leeway and have several projects fall through, one of them being this film 'Chernobyl Diaries' which Peli co-wrote and Produce, the film uses a real life incident to create a fictitious story.
The film revolves around a group of six tourists who take an 'extreme tour' to the abandoned city Pripyat just near Chernobyl, the abandoned town famous for its nuclear disaster. During the tour, the group soon begin to realize that they are not the only ones in Chernobyl.
I was actually quite interested in this films premise, Chernobyl is such a haunting and creepy legend that it should make for an interesting horror film. One of the best traits of 'Chernobyl Diaries' is the way in which its builds suspense, sure its nothing all that special and really doesn't do that much different to other films but I quite enjoyed the tension. The film features some absolutely glorious set pieces that really feel like a destructed and empty city, although they only seem to focus on one neighborhood in the town, its still effective.
With that being said, 'Chernobyl Diaries' is still a heavily flawed film. It never seems to fully utilize on its premise, and while it has the tension, it drops it for a far less coherent second half. The screenplay is decent but the direction is less inspired and never really capitalizes on the momentum the film gains.
There are plenty of jumpy moments throughout the film, aswell as some frightening imagery, while that stuff is great it cant make up for the films flaws. Jump scares are fine and can even be a good way of getting audience members invested in the film, but they really shouldn't be your only outlet for scares.
Not that you can really expect good performances in a film like this, but here they are all quite dismal to be perfectly frank. This is not a convincing actor amongst the main group of tourists. Jesse McCartney is really awkward whenever he is conversing on screen, and I haven't seen a film yet where I liked Nathan Phillips. The only shining light is Dimitri Diatchenko, who gives a fun performance as Uri, the extreme tour guide.
I cant wholeheartedly recommend 'Chernobyl Diaries', but I will say that I went in with no real expectations but ended up having a decent time. Its an obviously flawed film but you may get some enjoyment out of it, if you are familiar with the Chernobyl incident, but otherwise I cant recommend this.