First and foremost I’m going to tell you that this is a zombie movie. Now, if you want to get technical and say “They’re not dead so they can’t be zombies”, they’re radioactive people that walk, grunt, and eat like zombies. So for the sake of this review, they’re zombies.
Shot from a handheld camera, like so many movies tend to do nowadays, ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ centers around a group of friends who travel to Russia to visit one friend’s brother, who just happens to be the most superficial character in the movie – let’s call him Douchie McGee. Douchie convinces the group to take an “extreme tour” of Chernobyl, via an ex-special forces tour guide, and a newly wed Australian couple. Chaos ensues pretty early in the film, about 35 minutes in, and is a downhill ride from there.
I hope you’re not looking for more than meets the eye with this one…
1. Just another “dumb kids on road trip getting killed” movie. Immediately after the movie starts you know what you’re getting into – Stupid kids, taking a trip, making dumb decisions, eventually paying for their dumb decisions. If history has taught us anything it’s that these kinds of movies are not scary but made to have on in the background while throwing a weekend party at college.
2. Douchie McGee is obviously much older than everyone else in the group, so why is he the only one acting like a teenager? I mean the dude has to be in his mid-30’s yet his lines seem like they were written for someone much younger. I wonder if the original Douchie dropped out of the film and they had to replace him with a much older Douchie, but didn’t have time to rewrite the script.
3. The zombies are apparently intelligent enough to open doors, unlock engine hoods, remove distributor plugs, destroy ignition wires, replace the hood, and close the door without leaving any evidence behind or destroying anything else. Yet later in the film they display violent aggressiveness by punching in the windows of the van and flipping it over. If they could do that the whole time, why not just do that from the beginning?
4. The last thirty minutes or so of the film are just the remaining members of the group running from the zombies and dropping one by one. That’s it. Just running and dying. Little did I know they were trying to build up to a dramatic ending with Douchie and his love interest, but ever since his first scene I didn’t like the guy, and by that time so many other people had died, so it came as no surprise when he bit the dust, too.
5. The Russian doctors feed the lone survivor to the zombies. Wait, what? After Douchie and his love interest finally escape the clutches of the zombies, they are met with Russian soldiers who fire upon Douchie, killing him. His love interest is taken by doctors to what appears to be a hospital, where they inform her the zombies are actually just contaminated people that have escaped the hospital. Then the doctors proceed to throw her in a prison cell filled with zombies that, of course, attack her. Fade to black. The end. So many questions. Why keep the contaminated people alive? Why not just shoot them if all they’re doing is locking them up to starve to death? What threat was the lone survivor?
In closing, this one provides some entertainment. If you go into it expecting a zombie movie then you won’t be disappointed, at least you’ll get the kind of suspense we’ve come to expect from zombie movies. If you’re looking for a genuinely scary movie, this one isn’t for you.
Cheers and goodnight.