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CHERNOBYL DIARIES (BLU-RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Brad Parker

Starring:
Jonathan Sadowski
Ingrid Bolso Berdal
Jesse McCartney
Nathan Philips

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Some stupid tourists hire a weird tour guide who's willing to chart them through Pripyat, where people suffered during the failure of the Chernobyl reactor. Monsters eat them.
Is it good movie?
All I heard about this flick is that it's really bad. Honestly, I haven't heard anything other than that since it came out. I mean, it came from Oren Peli, the brainchild behind the Paranormal Activity movies (but was directed by Brad Parker)..so it must have something going for it, right?

Well, all the buzz you've heard about this film is true. It sucks out loud.

Stupid kids decide while on vacation in Europe to do some "Extreme Tourism", like that's really a thing. It's nothing but an excuse to get our foolish leads to a scary location where they can be eaten appropriately and taken out one by one.

The whole thing almost feels like a farce, a sort of parody send-up of the genre in general. It does have an admittedly cool opening sequence that uses the whole "found footage" gimmick, but it seems pretty clear that Peli is braving a whole new direction. Problem is, it's a new direction for him but a very familiar one for anyone who's seen a horror film in the last ten years or so. And really, it's not a big departure because although the flick doesn't claim to be found footage, it's still shot in a very similar way.

The movie doesn't really have much story beyond what you know already. The dialogue tends to really rivet- it consists usually of a character shouting, wondering where another character has gone, yelling their name over and over again. Fun!

The characters are so thinly plotted, it's ridiculous.They try to give them a little backstory at the beginning, but it just doesn't stick. They range from acceptable (Amanda, played by Devin Kelly at least shows a bit of intelligence and courage) to outright head-smackingly stupid (Jesse McCartney's Chris is way over the top and awkward, while Jon Sadowski's Paul flat out gets people killed). Once the movie gets to the midway point, two new bodies show up to get taken down by the monsters, with very little explanation as to why.

The camera shakes like the earth is quaking, and that gets old fast. Almost all of the scary bits of this one take place completely off-screen, which can lead to some brutal unintentional comedy.

If you love convenient, tired clichés, watered down boo-scares and monster creatures that you barely ever see, Chernobyl Diaries is for you. Everyone else should avoid.
Video / Audio
Video comes in 1:85:1 widescreen, and quite honestly looks pretty darn good. The colors pop appropriately, and when the movie gets dark, the picture responds in kind. Good detail level too.

Audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, and is well balanced and expertly mixed. Really impressive track here.
The Extras
First up is a really useless alternate ending that runs about 2 minutes.

Next is Uri's Extreme Tour informercial, which is about a minute long and pretty self-explanatory.

The Chernobyl Conspiracy Viral Video is a 2 minute clip that takes a sort of "Hard Copy" hard-hitting expose sort of approach to what really happened in Chernobyl.

Finally, there's a 1 minute deleted scene.
Last Call
The Chernobyl Diaries is best summed up as a horror movie for teenagers who don't ever watch horror movies, and even then it's a little iffy. It is watchable, but predictable and lame at the same time. I most certainly do not recommend it.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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