Chernobyl Diaries, directed by Brad Parker, tells the story of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It was shot on location in Hungary and Serbia as they were unable to film in Pripyat due to nuclear radiation.
Chernobyl Diaries centers on a group of people illegally going to Chernobyl to explore the area affected by the nuclear disaster. Chris (Jesse McCartney of Alvin and The Chipmunks), his girlfriend Natalie (Olivia Taylor Dudley of Transcendence), and their mutual friend Amanda (Devin Kelley from The Chicago Code) travel across Europe and stop in Kiev, Ukraine to visit Chris’ brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski of Friday The 13th 2009). Paul suggests they go for an “Extreme tour” of Pripyat and they hire a tour guide named Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) who informs them that he can take them there.
The trip to Pripyat is two hours but when they reach the checkpoint into the city they’re turned back by the guards who claim the city is undergoing unexpected maintenance. Uri finds this strange because he’s usually notified in advance to keep him from driving out all that way with tour groups, but decides that since they paid for the tour, he’ll take them down a back road into the city. After sneaking in and touring the location, when they decide to leave they discover the wires to Uri’s van have been cut and the ‘abandoned city’ is not so abandoned after all.
It’s hard to root for a group of people that do something so inherently foolish like venturing out to a zone of unprecedented hazards with a low-rent tour guide, but the cast are surprisingly competent. The film also benefits from being mostly in darkness as it helps the jumpy aspects of some of the shock-moments, as well as the eerie music and camera-work. Although slow and inconsistent at times, Chernobyl Diaries is worth taking a peak at. There are over 400 operating nuclear power plants in the world today, and that, is quite scary.
WICKED RATING: 5/10
Title: Chernobyl Diaries
Director(s): Bradley Parker
Writer(s): Oren Peli, Carey VanDyke
Stars: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Taylor
Studio/ Production Co: Alcon Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment, Oren Peli / Brian Witten Pictures