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New Release Review - Chernobyl Diaries

Directed by: Bradley Parker
Starring: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Dudley, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Dimitri Diatchenko, Devin Kelley, Nathan Phillips

A group of tourists find themselves stranded in the ruins of Chernobyl but soon realise they are not alone.
If a movie portrayed the victims of September 11th or the holocaust in the crass and exploitative manner in which those of the Chernobyl disaster are subjected to here, this movie's American director Parker and Israeli writer Oren Peli would rightly be outraged. They may not share the mentality themselves but their film is aimed squarely at the sort of western xenophobe who still thinks the cold war is in full effect.
Before the characters even get to Chernobyl itself, they find trouble with the locals in Kiev. Ukrainians are portrayed as disgusting stereotypes: surly waitresses and bomber jacket clad would be rapists. The movie's American characters come across as arrogant uncultured bigots, though that's no doubt purely down to poor writing.
It's a shame Parker's movie is so mean spirited as he does show some potential. There are a handful of effective moments where the threat is kept in the shadows but as the story progresses it soon becomes apparent he's just transposed "The Hills Have Eyes" to Chernobyl for cheap shock value.
Peli of course was responsible for the effective "Paranormal Activity" but since then he's been hurting his reputation with executive producer and minor writing credits on such awful fare as "Insidious" and the cancelled TV show "The River". His directorial follow-up "Area 51" is slated for release later this year but I fear it may be a rare case of a film-maker shooting his load before anyone has even seen his second film.
4/10



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