The Chernobyl Diaries (2012)
You know a movie is going to be horrible when you wish it was a van full of twenty-somethings out for a quick thrill who get killed one by one in a found footage type of movie by creepy crawlies that are either because of inbreeding or just plain cannibalistic tendencies. What you do NOT want is a movie that clearly exploits the poor victims of a real-life disasters in the name of supposed entertainment. This movie was supposed to have used the 1986 Chernobyl disaster area for its backdrop but was filmed in Hungary and Serbia, near the Ukraine.
It is about twenty-somethings touring Europe (okay) and they stop in Kiev, Ukraine so one of them can visit his brother. I'm hoping they find a Hostel somewhere to get the party started about now... but no luck. The brother wants to show them the interesting and the wild so they go on an 'extreme' tour about 68 miles north leading to Pripyat - the abandoned city in the Ukraine near the Chernobyl plant.
The Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then officially the Ukrainian SSR), which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities of the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. It is widely considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.
It is one of only two classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011). The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers. The official Soviet casualty count of 31 deaths has been disputed, and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for.
That's the truth kiddies, and there are STILL people who labor at Chernobyl in order to make sure it is shut down safely and completely and probably will take until 2022 to complete. But according to the movie, no one is there, and the city Pripyat is abandoned. Okay, that's half right. The city was abandoned because radiation levels were and still are dangerously high. The Ukraine have allowed tours of Chernobyl, however, since 2011.
So why are we making a movie about selfish brats wanting to see the site of a horrible disaster which costs people lives, homes, jobs, health? Because this is America dammit, and the world is ours to exploit. At least, according to Hollywood.
So they have a guide to take them on their 'extreme' tour when they come upon a roadblock with armed guards. The guards inform them that the area is closed. Well, dammit they're Americans so they talk to their guide and he goes to an abandoned checkpoint and they go in anyway. Take that you dumb country that just wants to protect people! Anyway, what they'd expect to happen if they had brains happens. Although the guide has a Geiger counter, they find mutated animals and get a bit nervous whenever the counter beeps although the guide assures them that spending a short amount of time there will not hurt them. Uh huh.
They romp through the buildings of the poor people who had to leave everything behind, and some stop to pick up souvenirs but their guide, in his only show of common sense, tells them to leave it, as the lingering radiation could make them sick if they keep it around. While looking around like idiots they hear noises that tell them they are not alone in these buildings. While looking for the source of one noise a huge bear runs past them - so they believe it must be returning animals making all the noise.
They get back to the van to find it vandalized and yup, they're stuck. So there. I wasn't feeling sorry for them a bit. The guide, not being able to contact the military they ignored earlier, goes with one of the guys to investigate noises. Only one makes it back and his leg is messed up - and it's not the guide. Sigh. In daylight the others find the guide mutilated, but his gun was left with him. Going back to the van they find their injured friend and his girlfriend gone - their camera (ah crap, this IS found footage) shows something vaguely human taking them away. They're screwed.
Lather, rinse, repeat. The things that look human but are somehow not manage to pick them off, not to mention mutant dogs and, pffft, mutant fish. Oooh, mutant fish! So they die or get dragged off but waaaay too slowly because I am bored stiff - finally there are two left. But uh oh, the Geiger counter they managed to keep with them is now beeping off the chart and they're starting to blister. And here comes the military. The male is blind and stumbles toward them so they of course shoot him.
The remaining woman is taken into custody by guys in hazmat suits and while she's there the doctors talk among themselves, stating the sort-of-people they've been seeing were actually people mutated by radiation who somehow escaped the hospital (thus the guards trying to keep people out, duh). Then, because they aren't Americans (like America wouldn't do this in a heartbeat) they decide not to let the woman go because she's been there and knows so they throw her in with the others - who promptly eat her. No, really, they just grab her but I hope she got eaten. I really do.
Look, making movies about people damaged by the oopsies of their governments isn't new (The Hills Have Eyes is a good example) but that doesn't mean it's right. It's disrespectful and I found this movie in bad taste. You know, I have been reviewing bad movies that are bad 'cause of cheap shortcuts or bad acting but these 'new' movies are bad for a totally different reason I'm finding - because there's no respect for anything or anyone anymore. Sorry, my rant is over.