Chernobyl Diaries | Movie review
Tourists are shocked to find that radioactive Chernobyl has dark secrets.
Devin Kelley and Jonathan Sadowski in Chernobyl Diaries.
If, as some critics claimed, Cabin in the Woods made the horror genre obsolete, someone forgot to tell screenwriter Oren Peli. The Paranormal Activity auteur is having none of your sly postmodern chicanery or self-aware winks; he’s content to vaguely sketch a cast of dumb young people (the sincere guy, the hot but intelligent chick, the playa, the Aussie hippies) and set them loose like rats in a maze. The maze is Pripyat, the radioactive city next to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor; the rats are good at running but unrelentingly stupid; and the maze is laden with traps like irradiated mutant fish, a bear, a pack of wild dogs and…something else. Director Bradley Parker shakes his camera around a lot, as if no one told him this isn’t a found-footage premise. By the end, it is the audience that feels like lab rats, subjected to a series of stimuli to test our flinch reflex.