Despite arriving to largely unfavourable (read: scathing) reviews, Chernobyl Diaries remains somewhat intriguing thanks to its stand-out premise. Providing a great set-up, said premise sees a group of tourists venture into the small, irradiated town next to Chernobyl, which has been deserted ever since the power station had its infamous meltdown. Evacuated in a hurry, the desolate ghost town provides an eerie setting and a haunting atmosphere, even if the film doesn’t provide a story to match.
Conceived by Paranormal Activity head-honcho Oren Peli and helmed by SFX supervisor-turned director Bradley Parker, there are some chilling moments (such as where we see fleeing movement in the background). But as the group’s numbers inevitably dwindle, it all eventually devolves into running about dark corridors. Though not technically a found-footage movie (none of the characters are filming), the shaky cam antics feel somewhat familiar too, given the sub-genre’s current popularity. But while it won’t win any prizes for originality, Chernobyl Diaries is still a relatively effective horror experience (albeit one which is better at suspense than actual horror), and certainly not deserving of some of the one-star reviews being afforded its way.