Directed by Bradley Parker
After Paranormal Activity 2 almost killed his credibility according to many reviewers and genre fans, Peli comes back as the writer of a film he wanted to have made instead of countless Paranormal sequels. The result is Chernobyl Diaries, which is actually not another found footage entry as the trailer made it out to seem. This is a third person flick full of edge of your seat suspense and director Bradley Parker is up to the task in successfully bring it all from script to screen.
A foursome of brothers, a fiancé and a potential love interest (Jonathan Sadowski, Jesse McCartney, Devin Kelley, and Olivia Dudley) are on an international excursion when the thrill-seeking Paul (Sadowski) signs the reluctant group up for something called “Extreme Sightseeing”. Their tour guide Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko), sneaks them and another couple (Ingrid Bolso Berdal and Nathan Phillips) into a small town near Chernobyl, where it has been several years since the tragic nuclear meltdown occurred and the radiation has subsided enough for humans to explore the area.
After a day of exploring, night falls and trouble comes along with it. When the tour guide disappears and younger brother Chris (McCartney) is injured to the point where he can no longer walk, the rest of the group seeks out the now-missing Uri with the hope that he is still alive to guide them to safety. But many hurdles are in their path and they have no idea just what exactly they are up against. Are their assailants ghosts, mutated zombies, or what? This review says no more or it’s going to spoil all the surprises.
This film was trashed by critics and many horror fans, but there is no real justification for it. Maybe people just like to hate on mainstream horror films nowadays. The film was entertaining, suspenseful and really holds your attention if you sit back and watch with an open mind. It should not be crowned the King of 2012 Horror Films or anything like that, but it definitely is an above average flick that proves Peli is not a one-hit wonder and his creativity extends beyond the found footage subgenre.
The plot appears cookie cutter plot and yet you will probably think you will have everything figured out early on, but you are guaranteed to be surprised by what happens in the final act. In fact, the only gripe with the film is the final seconds, but by that time you are still reeling from the crazy rollercoaster ride you just endured.
Even the mainly unknown cast was spectacular. For example, if anyone can cast Jesse McCartney in a large role and not have him be annoying when it was almost guaranteed that he was going to be from the get-go, then you know Parker has serious directing ability. In fact, this should be considered a breakout role for all the thespians involved.
These Diaries are probably better enjoyed with the big screen/crowd effect, but since this review is late to the dance, make sure to catch it on DVD when it is released. You might actually have some fun watching a nice popcorn flick and be given some thrills and chills along the way.
|3.5 OUT OF 5 CREEPER SANTAS|