Mutated Genius, or complete reactor meltdown?
There’s an argument in the world around how long it should be after a disaster in which lots of lives are lost before you should start actually making money from any form of entertainment surrounding it.
In 1986 just over 40 people directly lost their lives on the back of the meltdown of the Number 4 nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Power Plant.
In 2012, Chernobyl Diaries was released.
In 2019, I have watched Chernobyl Diaries for the first time…and I was Today years old when I realised this was one of the best horror films I have seen.
The story tells of a group of 4 friends who are on a European Tour. Instead of hitting Kiev, one of the brothers in the group plans a trip to Chernobyl with a local danger seeking guide. They are joined by two other fun seekers and off they head to the town of Pripyat, the worst hit population area near the Power Station. There they find that they are not allowed into the area as it’s on lockdown for some reason (Cue ominous feelings) and their Ukrainian tourguide takes them in a back way into the area.
Naturally, once inside, everything starts to go a little wrong. They first encounter is bear running wild, and then some feral dogs before Uri the Tour Guide goes missing and all hell breaks loose.
What follows is a series of chases and attacks, picking off the group one by one.
The film manages to remain scary without having to revert to tonnes of blood and gore, which I really enjoyed. Throughout the entire film, you never really get to fully see the threat they are under, but small glimpses in torchlight, or passing flashes are enough to keep the scares and the tension high throughout.
Usually with films like this, there’s never enough character building, but for once it felt like there was just enough to care about them throughout, whether you wanted them dead or not.
Atmospherically, the film delivers with a great setting, obviously filming in abandoned towns doubled up as the real place, but using them to really good effect that it felt like they were actually in Chernobyl.
Genuinely scary and increasingly tense in places, this is one of my favourite horror films.