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Sunday, June 3, 2012

[4.50/10] Chernobyl Diaries (2012)


Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Brief review: Brought by "Paranormal Activity" series' creator, Oren Peli, "Chernobyl Diaries" is yet another failed attempt at horror, that has all the right elements to be potentially good, if not great, but at the end it screams 'missed opportunity'. Its promising concept is totally ruined by a poorly-developed script, tons of pacing issues, and uninspired execution that makes the whole experience incredibly underwhelming. On the top of that, for a film that consider itself a horror, "Chernobyl Diaries" hardly offers any decent scares, and in terms of tensity it doesn't deliver either. The predictability factor is there as well, therefore most viewers will figure out what threatens the characters pretty early in the movie. Luckily, at least the film manages to use its unique setting to its advantage. The abandoned communist-style buildings are spooky as hell, the pitch-black underground tunnels are more fearsome that the 'creatures' themselves, and the uninhabited city of Pripyat has such a sinister atmosphere about it, it will surely give you the creeps. VFX expert Bradley Parker's lack of directing experience is written all over the screen. He struggles to find the right rhythm behind the camera, and as a result, his debut film is dull and dragged out in its first half, and only semi-interesting in its second. The young actors involved are barely familiar, but they still deliver pretty passable performances, most notably the female part of the cast.

Overall summary: It benefits from its effective use ot setting, but the nightmarishly creepy location alone can't save "Chernobyl Diaries" from being a disappointingly sub-par horror with a predictably formulaic script, unimaginative direction and little to no scares and suspense.

18 comments:

Melissa Bradley said...

I've said it a hundred times, but I'll say it again. Oren Peli hasn't got a clue what real horror is about. He got lucky with PA because he aimed it at people who are too chicken to watch real horror films to begin with. Everything he's done has been a tired cliche with no suspense or scare whatsoever. He even teamed with Spielberg for a show called The River. What a suck fest! How in the name of all that is holy, do you work with Spielberg and turn out a dismal failure? The show was cancelled after a month. Oren is a one trick pony. The new M Knight Shyamalan.

I admire you for sitting through this craptacular piece of utter garbage and giving such a thoughtful review. :)

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Mel, wow, I had no idea you think Oren Peli is such a lame producer.
I dunno, you might be right. PA movies I liked, but his collaboration with Spielberg was a disaster. I watched the pilot episode of The River and I was bored to death. Gave up on it half way through.

You know what CD wasn't necessarily a 'nuclear catastrophe', but it was pretty darn close. :) The setting definitely gave me the creeps. The movie itself.. not that much.

Thanks for the compliments, hon. I was just being honest. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, Melissa pulls no punches!
This one just looked lame from the beginning to me. Glad I didn't waste my money.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Alex, but I did. And I regret it deeply. I should have waited it to come out on DVD.

Melissa is so outspoken and opinionated and that's why I love her. :)

Matthew Vanacore said...

I don't think I"ll be seeing this movie. Nothing is more oppressive and obnoxious than phony horror.

And my wallet thanks you, George :)

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Matty, I've seen worse, however, I wouldn't recommend this one, not even to die hard horror fans.

LOL. Glad your wallet was pleased by this review as well. :)

venoms5 said...

I didn't even know what this was till a couple weeks ago and even then the trailer looked like a rental for me. I imagine the found footage style of horror picture is about to run its course, anyways.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

venoms5, the trailers picked up mu interest, if I have to be honest, but the execution of it was just plain bad. It's as simple as that.
And just fro the record, this one ain't a found footage horror. Otherwise, I would have mention it in my review. :)

Thanks for the comment.

Craig Edwards said...

Ouch - nice review George - but man, that Oren Peli guy really pushes Melissa's buttons, eh?

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Craig, he does. There must be a reason for that. :)

Thanks, buddy.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

When I first saw the trailer for this one I was all, "Hmm, looks kinda interesting but I don't know..." Everybody who has seen it has confirmed my suspicions! No doubt curiosity will make me see it later on but I'll probably wait for Redbox or something so it's cheaper!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Michele, I felt the exact same way the first time I saw the trailer.

The movie itself was pretty much a semi-interesting horror that, never lived up to its full potential.

Don't watch it in the theater. It's not worth it.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Haven't seen it yet, starts here end of June.
The trailers look ok. I guess this will be something like Apollo 18, nothing special but worth a watch.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

I gave Apollo 18 the exact same rating, so yeah, you got it right. Not sure if it's necessarily worth seeing though. :)

HorrO said...

Wow! That sounds worse than I thought it would be. This movie kind of came out of no where for me. I wasn't expecting to be interested in it until I saw some of the trailers. Still couldn't go see it, and now I'm glad I saved my money. Great review!

By the way, sorry I haven't stopped by as much as usual, but promoting horror is keeping me busy. Still love the site and will keep coming back!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

HorrO, to be honest, I was kind of excited about it, but it didn't meet my expectations at all. It felt like a deja vu, and it lacked solid scares.

It's okay, buddy, don't worry about it. Keep up the great work with Promote Horror. It's a fantastic blog!

HorrO said...

Finally saw it the other day and you nailed it. Scares were weak. Just a bunch of screaming in darkness. I liked the story but once they got there, they just didn't make it work. They need to be a little more The Hills Have Eyes in it. That would have been more fun.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

HorrO, flag you agree with me on this one.

"once they got there, they just didn't make it work" - EXACTLY.It was a missed opportunity.