Verdict: 3 / 5
There have been many stories, tales and fictional books based on the true-life disasters of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that occurred in Ukraine in 1986. With numerous TV screenings and a few movies, there hasn’t been a horror picture dedicated to the disaster, most likely due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Chernobyl Diaries has the title of a documentary, but is based on an original story from Oren Peli, who previously scared audiences with Paranormal Activity.
Plot: Three young adults, Chris, his girlfriend Natalie and their friend Amanda, travel across Europe on their way to Kiev, Ukraine, where they will meet up with Chris’ brother, Paul. They are scheduled to head to Moscow the morning after arriving in Kiev. Before leaving for Moscow, however, Paul suggests they go on an “extreme tour”, which sees them travel to Prypiat, an abandoned town situated alongside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, with the aid of a tour guide named Uri.
As you would expect from most horror movies, it doesn’t take much effort to predict the events leading up to the end result. The good thing about horror movies, though, is that we don’t care too much about the plot and storyline, and focus instead on being entertained. And when I say entertained, I mean being kept on the edge of your seat in shock, horror, and being terrified. Once you get passed all the fluff, which is supposed to set the tone for this movie, you will be kept on your toes waiting to see how the plot unravels, and how many of the people involved will survive to the end. At one point during the screening, the person behind kicked my chair in shock, and as I turned around, they had their head covered with their hoodie, cringing in terror. Although I never experienced the same sense of fear, I enjoyed watching this movie.
If you’re looking for a quick thrill, without needing to spend time debating the plot or discussing loopholes, then Chernobyl Diaries is just the sort of movie for you. The constructs of the movie are very generic, but there are some additions to the overall outcome that show some level of thought. On top of that, there are little to no gore scenes, which means less time looking away in disgust and more time spent anticipating the next terror moment.
Chernobyl Diaries will be screened exclusively at Ster-Kinekor from Friday, 10th August 2012.