Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Horror Thriller Drama
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
May 25, 2012 (wide—2,450+ theaters)
DVD: October 16, 2012
“Ten years ago, the Ukrainian government let tourists visit the area around Chernobyl. They said it was safe… it wasn’t.”
Twenty five years ago, there was a nuclear reactor that “went on the fritz” in the city of Chernobyl, Russia. Many had to evacuate due the nuclear hazards that awaited those who remained in the city. Six friends, twenty five years later, decide to take a trip around Europe. One of their stops happens to be in Russia. They decide, with the help of their “extreme tours” guide Yuri, to take a tour of the abandoned city of Chernobyl. However, they’re about to find out that they are not welcome there…
I don’t go to many horror movies. I have my reasons. I was interested in the “Chernobyl Diaries” because it sounded like a fascinating film, and I actually wanted to get scared. An abandoned nuclear city, six friends travel to it, the possibilities are endless, right? The purpose of this film is to scare the pants off of people, and, for me, it served its purpose. Some of the scary moments, however, are obvious, as has become custom for many horror/thriller films. In my mind, there are scenes where I said, “I should have seen that coming.” Other moments, however, I was genuinely surprised and scared.
In terms of cinematic elements, the camera work needs work. At the very beginning, the camera is shot in the same manner that “Paranormal Activity” was shot (in a shaky, amateur video camera type manner), and then, out of nowhere, it returns to regular camera shots. Strange. There is very little cinema lighting—just available light. The acting is about average. Many of the scenes take place in old abandoned buildings, with little to no available light.
Violence: Heavy to Extreme. As to be expected with most horror films, there are multiple scenes of terror and violence. People are attacked by creatures, and there is much gun fire. There are scenes where trails of blood can be seen. There are also scenes where animals eat dead animals. There is much violence in this film (hence, the “R” rating), and I shall not detail it all.
Profanity: Extreme. After reviewing my notebook at the end of the film, I had tallied four instances where God’s name is taken in vain and two instances where our Lord’s name is taken in vain. There are eighty-two instances of the word “f**k,” nineteen “sh*t,” two “h*ll,” two “a**,” one “b*tch,” and one “mother-f***er,”. Other vulgar language includes the phrase “piss his pants,” and the word “p_ssy” is used.
Sex/Nudity: Mild. One woman wears a cleavage bearing outfit. A sexual reference is made to someone needing to “burn the sheets,” and a couple is seen kissing passionately.
Other: There are a couple scenes of alcohol use. There is a scene, shortly afterward, where a couple of the main characters appear drunk.
With horror films, it’s hard to find any good morals or positive issues to draw from. In this case, it is the issue of fear. Fear, in my opinion, is an attack from our enemy who wishes us to forget that God is in control and that He is in charge. If we keep this thought in mind, we will never need to truly fear anything in our lives. Nothing. As the Bible says in the book of Isaiah:
You’re probably wondering at this point if I recommend the film, right? Well, I do not—not to anyone, Christian or otherwise. Besides the fact that there are extreme amounts of violence, terror, and profanity, there is nothing really novel here—it been done before. The scary moments are where one would expect them. As I said, I enjoyed parts of this film, but other moments made me wonder why I went. It is not a great movie.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
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