Chernobyl Diaries

User Score
4.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 148 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 148
  2. Negative: 52 out of 148

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User Reviews

  1. May 27, 2012
    4
    In order to fairly review this movie, I really have to look at the first and second half almost as completely different movies. The first half was pretty good. It was fairly well-done, and the tension slowly builds. I've always had a minor fascination with Chernobyl, and the movie did a good job of reproducing the look and feel of the place (well, early in the movie that is).In order to fairly review this movie, I really have to look at the first and second half almost as completely different movies. The first half was pretty good. It was fairly well-done, and the tension slowly builds. I've always had a minor fascination with Chernobyl, and the movie did a good job of reproducing the look and feel of the place (well, early in the movie that is). Unfortunately, the second half of the movie is so ridiculously over-the-top, drawn-out, implausible, and repetitious, that I left the movie hating this movie (even though 45 minutes in to it I'd liked it). I don't want to give any ay spoilers, but I think that if they'd made a movie about wild dogs (ala Cujo) or a dangerous gang of hoodlums (something akin to "The Strangers" perhaps) living in Chernobyl, they'd have had a winner... but by instead going the horror route, they ruined a great setup. Collapse
  2. May 25, 2012
    4
    Chernobyl Diaries continues in the vein of many recent horror flicks, relying on an overabundance of jump scenes -- replete with the often-favored loud noises -- to suggest that the audience should be scared. Uh, huh. The movie opens as three American friends meet a fourth in Kiev. Paul and Chris are brothers, Natalie is Chris's girlfriend, and Amanda is their single friend. Mostly theseChernobyl Diaries continues in the vein of many recent horror flicks, relying on an overabundance of jump scenes -- replete with the often-favored loud noises -- to suggest that the audience should be scared. Uh, huh. The movie opens as three American friends meet a fourth in Kiev. Paul and Chris are brothers, Natalie is Chris's girlfriend, and Amanda is their single friend. Mostly these traits define the characters, who are otherwise easily startled. Paul decides to take the others to see the Chernobyl reactors and nearby town. The four are led by local tour guide Uri and joined by two other tourists. When the military denies the group access, they should take it as a warning sign. As in most horror movies, they don't. Uri utilizes a little-known entryway, and soon the group has found its way into the eerie, deserted town of Prypiat. These scenes are certainly among the best in the movie, providing what's certainly the most haunting imagery. Of course the horror aspects wait just around the corner to negate some of the goodwill earned here. After an odd encounter with some wildlife, the group returns to the van to find various engine parts missing. Eventually someone wanders off, and then someone else, and so on. Though plausible character motivation is not a hallmark of the horror genre, it would be nice if there were, say, some. This is the sort of movie where audiences will want to shout at the screen while characters make the wrong decisions. The handheld camerawork does the action no favors, and a number of scenes are just too dark to see. Some thrills do pay off -- namely a well-advertized jump sequence -- but most are negated by the fact that the characters are too often too stupid to care about. The movie does not fare well in the wake of the excellent genre commentary The Cabin in the Woods. In addition to this, the use of an actual tragedy to masquerade as a horror plot comes off as crass and shameless. In comparison to Paranormal Activity -- a connection incessantly boasted in the ads -- Chernobyl Diaries is perhaps less dull though no more remarkable. Undiscerning horror fans and those looking for a few jumps may well enjoy the movie, but anyone hoping for something more will only be in for a disappointment. Expand
  3. May 27, 2012
    4
    OK so let's clear some things up. 1. Chernobyl Diaries is NOT a found footage film. 2. Chernobyl Diaries does not deserve to be in the green on Metacritic. With all of that said, Chernobyl Diaries is a bad movie but it certainly had potential. The cast is pretty stupid when it comes to making logical, life saving decisions and do everything a typical human in a horror film would do. WhileOK so let's clear some things up. 1. Chernobyl Diaries is NOT a found footage film. 2. Chernobyl Diaries does not deserve to be in the green on Metacritic. With all of that said, Chernobyl Diaries is a bad movie but it certainly had potential. The cast is pretty stupid when it comes to making logical, life saving decisions and do everything a typical human in a horror film would do. While the situation does deem itself to be damn creepy, and at times what does happen on screen is very creepy, it's enough to really get you. The ending, while predictable and very messed up, does its job and closes the door on any potential of a sequel. Expand
  4. Jun 28, 2012
    6
    First things first, this is NOT another found footage movie, even though the trailer made it seem that way. Instead, it is a pretty atmospheric, creepy and in some spots genuinely frightening piece of modern horror. I enjoyed the film for its creepy atmosphere and mood. However, my only qualms about it concern the fact that at times it seems the filmmakers are trying to make some moneyFirst things first, this is NOT another found footage movie, even though the trailer made it seem that way. Instead, it is a pretty atmospheric, creepy and in some spots genuinely frightening piece of modern horror. I enjoyed the film for its creepy atmosphere and mood. However, my only qualms about it concern the fact that at times it seems the filmmakers are trying to make some money off the worst nuclear disaster in history. Also, venturing into the highly radioactive Prypiat doesn't really sound like a fun day out, especially if at night you'll be dragged off screaming by a bunch of zombie-mutants that want to rip your intestines out and feast on your flesh. Overall, its good for an adrenaline rush of fast-paced horror with no intelligence behind it. Expand
  5. Jun 8, 2012
    6
    I understand where all the hate comes from, yes, but for me the film was not as bad as it was said to be. It had its moments, sure, that were pretty dumb to say the least, but in the end it was much better than A Devil Inside and Paranormal Activity. This movie did have potential, and it would have had a perfect rating for me if they had of wrote it differently. I did enjoy the set up theyI understand where all the hate comes from, yes, but for me the film was not as bad as it was said to be. It had its moments, sure, that were pretty dumb to say the least, but in the end it was much better than A Devil Inside and Paranormal Activity. This movie did have potential, and it would have had a perfect rating for me if they had of wrote it differently. I did enjoy the set up they did for the city near Chernobyl, I just wish they had of moved around a little more in the movie, it was all in one general area I found. Expand
  6. Mar 30, 2013
    5
    All I can say is it's not scary. It has a creepy setting and could have been downright terrifying had they relied on something other than predictable jump scares that you can see coming from a mile away. There's no real atmosphere and they spent to long in the beginning of the movie trying to get you to like the characters by giving us their story before going into this ordeal, and I'veAll I can say is it's not scary. It has a creepy setting and could have been downright terrifying had they relied on something other than predictable jump scares that you can see coming from a mile away. There's no real atmosphere and they spent to long in the beginning of the movie trying to get you to like the characters by giving us their story before going into this ordeal, and I've never been a big fan of that kind of thing. In my opinion they should just throw the people into the middle of the horror ASAP and sprinkle their story throughout. It's never gruesome enough, never smart enough, and certainly never scary enough to be considered a good horror movie. Which is sad because there are some true hints of genius hidden throughout that show potential for an outstanding horror movie, but I have to review the movie based on what it is and not what it could be. Expand
  7. Nov 7, 2012
    5
    I was expecting a LOT more of what it could be . The setting is what maintains this movie alive because it's interesting but what drags CD is that is so predictable all around it that makes you yell your TV not by how scary it is ( that it really isn't ) but by how stupid the script is . While the acting was admirably fine and the atmosphere really accomplished what you deserved in theI was expecting a LOT more of what it could be . The setting is what maintains this movie alive because it's interesting but what drags CD is that is so predictable all around it that makes you yell your TV not by how scary it is ( that it really isn't ) but by how stupid the script is . While the acting was admirably fine and the atmosphere really accomplished what you deserved in the last minutes everything collapse and breaks the pace. Expand
  8. Jan 4, 2013
    4
    Suspense and atmosphere may be present at times as with a couple well constructed scares, but Chernobyl Diaries is a horribly executed film that could have been fun but ends up being cheap and frustrating.
  9. Jun 10, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I found the first half of the movie good. If it would have stuck with the first half, and continued as a documentary, this movie would have been a 9 or a 10, easily. The second half of this movie is frustrating, with bad camera angles, and constant sprinting from zombies, something which is being overused. The idea was great, even with the zombies, and this movie had a lot of potential. How the movie was presented was close to pathetic, and it was just frustrating seeing the wasted potential of this movie. Expand
  10. Mar 11, 2013
    6
    Chernobyl Diaries is the Directorial debut from Bradley Parker and Written by the man who brought us four installments of Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli, but the only thing original about this film is it's location. A group of friends are traveling through Europe in what looks like a shot for shot remake of Hostel, when they meet a man who gives tours of the abandon city near Chernobyl.Chernobyl Diaries is the Directorial debut from Bradley Parker and Written by the man who brought us four installments of Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli, but the only thing original about this film is it's location. A group of friends are traveling through Europe in what looks like a shot for shot remake of Hostel, when they meet a man who gives tours of the abandon city near Chernobyl. After being rejected entry into the city, the group sneaks in and runs into a whole mess of trouble. This is your very basic zombie film, with nothing extraordinary about it. You've seen this story a hundred times, but what makes Chernobyl Diaries different is that it takes place in Russia and features a talent cast. What's interesting about this cast is that none of them have any background in horror. Jesse McCartney is a singer who does mostly voice over work, and Devin Kelley is almost strictly a TV actress. Taking these role was something new for them and they really put all they had into it. I feel like it was wasted effort though, as this film really is nothing different. Friends on vacation go to a unique location and run into something supernatural that tries to kill them, it's been done over and over again. The unique location made for a great start to something, unfortunately the writers didn't know what to do with that, and the result is another ordinary film that gets an average rating. Expand
  11. Aug 7, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie, is bad and good. But, mostly bad. What really pissed me off about this movie was how it ended.. It didn't leave me extremely disappointed, but extremely pissed. You find out that Chernobyl is pretty much controlled by these people. The movie went too fast. It was one thing after the other. The acting was pretty awful. But, I was somewhat entertained. Expand
  12. Jun 23, 2012
    4
    I did not think this was a great film its pretty low-budget to be fair so it's not got much to work with so taking that in to consideration its worth a watch Hills Have Eyes comes to Russia.
  13. Jul 7, 2012
    5
    I had a rather good time watching this. It is the kind of low budget movie you know will get made over and over. Simple idea. Simple execution. Simple to follow. And easy to enjoy. In fact there's not even a need for real name actors of any kind... If you are an independent filmmaker and your uncle has a bag full of money, make this movie. It will work. Guaranteed.
    I found the script to
    I had a rather good time watching this. It is the kind of low budget movie you know will get made over and over. Simple idea. Simple execution. Simple to follow. And easy to enjoy. In fact there's not even a need for real name actors of any kind... If you are an independent filmmaker and your uncle has a bag full of money, make this movie. It will work. Guaranteed.
    I found the script to be well crafted. It didn't ask much from the audience. The problem upon which the horror theme is built is quite simple. It revolves around a nuclear disaster with enough notoriety to gain instant credibility. What of the small towns that surround the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown? Specially when we have in current news the nuclear disaster in Japan? Perhaps we should repeat this formula in its Japanese version? I'm in!
    The scares come mostly from what we don't see. A job well done by the filmmakers. They keep us wondering what the hell is out there? And they actually hold out long enough to show us and stay interested. Also, the Russian guide does a great job hinting at the fact that he knows more than he is telling these kids. And the kids themselves make good use of their roles. Believable all the way through.
    I don't want to give away the surprises. But if there was a small shortcoming, and I do insists on short, it was their practical effects budget. You'll see what I mean.
    I would have rewritten the ending slightly different. A couple of choices didn't need to overdo it, but it is believable where it is. I liked it, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed when you watch it.
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  14. Sep 30, 2012
    4
    Whilst there are a few moments where tension is built nicely, the fact that the only interesting thing about the film atall is the setting says a lot. A forgettable breeze of a horror movie that packs a few moments of brief tension, but no actual scares to back it up.
  15. Jan 1, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Chernobyl Diaries" has a promising setup, but ultimately gives you nothing you haven't seen before in countless other horror films. When a group of American teenagers accepts an offer from a Russian extreme tourist guide to an abandoned town just outside Chernobyl, they quickly discover they're not alone and find themselves in a grim fight for survival . . . only, really, there's less fighting in this movie than just vaguely incoherent running, chasing and split-second scary images. It honestly plays and feels like a found-footage movie, despite not actually being one, and although the acting is decent, it's only at its best in the first act, when it's relying on the atmosphere of the abandoned town itself to build suspense. After that, you just get some dogs, a bunch of people you never see clearly, a series of moronic decisions to continue further and further into the high-radiation zones (they actually end up right outside the friggin' Chernobyl reactor), and a conclusion that is as unsurprising as it is unoriginal. I'll give the film credit for its characters, as they are much more believable and likeable than most other horror flick teenagers, but they're only slightly less idiotic in their decisions and, of course, all die (the last one counts, I say). The result? A rather messy and underdeveloped film that wastes an engaging context on cliches, tropes and a thorough lack of authentic tension or excitement. Expand
  16. Jul 29, 2013
    5
    Chernobyl Diaries is far from the Paranormal Activity series or Insidious, but it is a good film in its own right. View the film knowing that it is less for the scares and more for the anxiety. Appreciate it for what it is meant to be. The acting isn't great, but the camera work and setting are absolutely phenomenal. A+ cinematography on this film. Motion graphics not so much, butChernobyl Diaries is far from the Paranormal Activity series or Insidious, but it is a good film in its own right. View the film knowing that it is less for the scares and more for the anxiety. Appreciate it for what it is meant to be. The acting isn't great, but the camera work and setting are absolutely phenomenal. A+ cinematography on this film. Motion graphics not so much, but cinematography was excellent. In regards to the end, since everyone seemed to hate it to the bones, what did you think was going to happen? For once a horror film fully realizes that sometimes actions have consequences. Though it seemed like a no brainer story-wise, it played completely original on screen and I honor Peli for that. Chernobyl Diaries is not the greatest horror movie ever made, but it is worth a watch. Expand
  17. Sep 26, 2013
    6
    Chernobyl Diaries in an effective thriller, but only good at most. It is shot in the style of Paranormal Activity, except the story that captivated millions in Paranormal doesn't show here. Instead, we have a shell of a horror movie that has many clich├ęs and flaws, but is worth a look-see. Well, at least a look-see at the last half hour, because the rest of the movie is just filler.
  18. Oct 21, 2014
    6
    The idea is fairly unique and creative making for and interesting plot, however It's dim scenes and shaky camera movements make for a difficult ride. So interesting it deserves a sequel (A shot at redemption)
  19. Jun 29, 2015
    4
    Summary: Chernobyl Diaries boasts an eerie setting, but its screenplay is awful and the characters are forgettable. 40/100 [C-]

    Directed by Bradley Parker and written by Oren Peli. Chernobyl Diaries is a horror film released in 2012. It was filmed in Hungary and some other close locations. Its whole location is scary and the plot is quite interesting. Its first act delivers some false
    Summary: Chernobyl Diaries boasts an eerie setting, but its screenplay is awful and the characters are forgettable. 40/100 [C-]

    Directed by Bradley Parker and written by Oren Peli. Chernobyl Diaries is a horror film released in 2012. It was filmed in Hungary and some other close locations. Its whole location is scary and the plot is quite interesting. Its first act delivers some false jump-scares; so, if you're a person who gets scared easily, I recommend it. Even though it has 86 minutes of running time, it was pretty boring, mainly because the suspense was awfully handled. Also, the script and all the situations were very cliche. The worst thing about it is that it had lots of potential, this is such a waste of premise.

    There was a huge lack of screenplay, the direction and the writing were so lazy. The camera work is cheap and crappy. It's good to see a film talking about this catastrophe, it was a good idea, but "Chernobyl Diaries" fails to give us interesting characters and genuine scares. It definitely has its moments, but the plot was very confusing, especially in its last act. Sometimes the movie is way too dark. It's almost unwatchable. It seems that they recorded this film with a potato. Well, at least the performances were decent and a few scares were effective, but it's just another mediocre Blumhouse production.

    I recommend it only for very curious horror fans and people who get scared easily. The first time I saw it, I really liked it, but after the second viewing I realize how bad written it was. In conclusion, Chernobyl Diaries boasts a frightening setting that is wasted by an awful script, lazy direction and horrible camera work. Anyway I recommend it if you're a curious horror fan and you have low expectations. I don't recommend it if you're not a huge fan of the genre and you expect lots of scares, originality and surprises. Spooky location, bad script and poor execution, that's it. [C-]
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  20. Jun 6, 2015
    4
    The beginning promises an interesting adventure in a perfect horror setting, but it doesn't take long for cheap camera work and genre cliches to squander most of its potential.
  21. Jun 4, 2015
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. In my opinion, this movie was about a 4/10. Though they added ambiance and suspense, the movie didn't really start until the final 40 minutes. And though the final 40 minutes were decently directed, the characters died off too fast, and all at once. There wasn't much of a story, and the actors were poorly chosen. The actors did a good job, don't get me wrong, but they didn't portray the real horror you would have should you have ended up in their situation. Overall, it was a decent movie, but I wouldn't watch it again. Expand
Metascore
32

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 17
  2. Negative: 8 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Ken McIntyre
    Jun 21, 2012
    40
    Diaries is dark and gruesome, but with little in the way of genuine shock or surprise, you should expect the expected.
  2. Reviewed by: Hank Sartin
    May 29, 2012
    40
    If, as some critics have claimed, "The Cabin in the Woods" made the horror genre obsolete, someone forgot to tell screenwriter Oren Peli.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    May 26, 2012
    25
    The movie wants us to find this frightening, but there's no suspense, no terrifying images.