A Toxic Waste of a Idea
Chris, his girlfriend Natalie and their friend Amanda are doing the tourist thing across Europe and that also means stopping off in Kiev, Ukraine to visit his brother Paul who has moved there. It is Paul's idea that rather than doing the tourist thing of visiting Moscow they go with Uri, an extreme tour guide, who will take them Pripyat which is the abandoned city next to Chernobyl where all the workers lived. Whilst they find the official road closed to them Uri knows a back way in which they use. But after spending a couple of hours there Uri says it is time to go but when they return to his van they find the engine has been destroyed and they are not only stranded there with no one knowing their whereabouts but they are certainly not alone.
As an idea the "Chernobyl Diaries" had potential as there is some thing simply creepy about looking around old buildings which whilst derelict are also frozen in time, abandoned in the middle of just a normal day. Sadly "Chernobyl Diaries" fails to capitalise on that side of the movie and so whilst we see these tourists waking around the abandoned buildings there is no sense that they were frozen in time and look like derelict buildings waiting to be demolished, in fact this might as well have been set in an abandoned hospital.
But in fairness "Chernobyl Diaries" is not about the discovery of a building untouched in years but the horror of the situation of being stuck in an area affected by radioactivity, inhabited by wild animals and with no one knowing you are there. Sadly that side of the movie doesn't do that much either because whilst we are meant to have the fear factor of being in this abandoned city with wild animals and one of the group gets hurt the atmosphere is just not there in a way it draws you in to what is going on. Maybe that again comes from poor writing when it comes to creating characters but this for me quickly became one of those movies I hoped would finish sooner rather than later so that I could write this review and put the experience behind me.
What this all boils down to is that "Chernobyl Diaries" had a good idea but sadly this movie wasted it and the end product ended up a generic tale of friends fighting for survival in an abandoned building, just in this case there is a whole city of abandoned buildings.