Movie Review: The Chernobyl Diaries

I have been waiting for a chance to watch The Chernobyl Diaries, yet never has it actually made its way to the top of my viewing list. Why? Because something about it, just makes me skip it every time I settle down to watch a horror movie.

Why have I watched it now then you ask? Well, it was one of the movies on the plane – they have a dedicated horror category, it’s awesome – and I thought, well, I’ve got 9 hours to kill, now is as good a time as any to watch it.

I am glad I did, but before you get all enthused and start thinking I am going to rave about this movie, be warned… I’m not!

The idea is an interesting one. What happened at Chernobyl, it isn’t every day that something of that magnitude happens, and in a country like the Ukraine, the potential for all manner of interesting myths and legends is fertile fodder for the horror inclined brain. All of them apart from the creator of this movie it would seem.


The movie starts slow, that’s the first thing. While there is at least some growth in back story, it doesn’t

*Side note – the coffee on this flight is possibly the worst I have tasted in a long time, and I work in an office where our coffee is boiled up carpet juice!* Now, where was I? Oh, yes…

A group of friends (two brothers, a girlfriend and a hot, fresh out of a relationship female friend) decide to book an extreme sightseeing tour of the abandoned city of Pripyat, only a few miles away from Chernobyl, it was abandoned in a matter of minutes and never inhabited again.


Once more, the potential for some great scares is rife in this setting. Joined by two backpackers, a couple no less; and Australian (I think) man, and his Icelandic Girlfriend, whose role in the movie could almost be removed without having to alter anything, including the script.

While visiting the city – and we are treated to some wonderful images of the town, including the now famous fun fair, with its skeletal Ferris Wheel stretching into the sk. The setting is creepy enough in its own right to not need any expansion of story at this point, yet someone should have told the filmmakers that the novelty of the abandoned city wears off and some genuine scares would be appreciated.

The story, which until then could still have been saved with a good twist, decides to play it ‘safe’ and fall back on something utterly predictable. Their guide is removed from the movie – parts of him are later found. The group are stranded, and surprise surprise, the city is not as abandoned as they thought.

Cue thirty odd minutes of the same rehashed movie making, from camera work, plot and script which left me yawning. I mean, the city is abandoned, it should be creepy, but they even manage to remove that from the equation.

One by one they are picked off. Who will survive, well, it was easy to guess from the start, and by this point in the movie I really couldn’t have cared less.


The movie was not great. I was not tripe, but I just felt disappointed by it more than anything. There was a lot of potential to go down some dark routes, create something new, push some boundaries, but no, the safe card was played, yet again.

The movie is a middle of the road tale, mediocre to the core!

Rating:       StarStarHalf Star

One thought on “Movie Review: The Chernobyl Diaries

  1. Wow, Alex, you must have seen all the all horror movies offered to sit through the entire flick. I gave up on this movie half-way through, but I felt the same as you–a wasted opportunity. It could have been much better given all that it had going for it : )

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