In 1986, the number four reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine, had a catastrophic meltdown that killed or injured many and rendered the entire region uninhabitable to this day.
Chernobyl Diaries attempts to answer the age-old question: “How long must one wait to make a cheap horror flick out of a national tragedy?”
We say, “It’s a flaccid introduction to the genre, appropriate for children or the uninitiated.”
TAYLOR: As readers may know, I’m a horror fan. I’ve seen more horror films than any other genre, so going in, I think it’s only fair that we keep our expectations low. After all, horror films are the fast food of the movie industry.
The thing that makes them cool, and the reason many beginning filmmakers choose to make a horror, is that they are so atmospheric. Weird cinematography, extreme lighting, shadow and silence are the calling cards of any decent scary movie.
HOWE: I thought they had achieved that. The eerie-ness and mist/fog covered town of Pripyat was filmed well. Some of the shots they took felt like you where right there in the town, then other times when Chris (Jesse McCartney) started whining, you knew you where watching a movie. McCartney was the weak link in this film.
TAYLOR: I disagree. I think it’s possible that you are unable to tell the difference between a character you don’t like and bad acting. McCartney did fine. You would whine too if you could see your bones sticking out of your leg. Then I would have to say, “You are the weakest link, goodbye.”
HOWE: OK, I wont go on about McCartney’s acting ability anymore. The rest of the cast was very good.
I do like that they use unknown actors in movies like these. They give a bit more realism to the plot. I just can’t imagine someone like Pitt or Cruise pulling it off. No, I can’t resist, McCartney’s acting was terrible.
TAYLOR: Whatever… The thing that bothered me a bit about the film is the same thing that bothers me about most modern horror films: people walking around in dark spaces where they, or the audience, can’t see anything, repeatedly calling out someone’s name.
Everyone is waiting for something to jump out and say “Boo!” I would much rather you trap someone in such a way where they can’t move, and the monster slowly creeps toward them and we can see the monster in all its gory glory. That would be scary. The Ring, for instance, was scary for this reason.
HOWE: Not once did Chernobyl Diaries make me jump. With this being in a horror category, it falls way short.
TAYLOR: For me, the film isn’t bad, yet it failed to scare me. I did enjoy the overall uneasiness of the rundown locations.
Plus, it was short, so not exactly wasted time, but close to it. Considering that the movie is only rated 14A, I’m gonna give it a passing grade, barely.
Howe gives Chernobyl Diaries 2 whining actors out of 5
Taylor gives it 2.5 fish teeth out of 5.
This feature is currently showing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.