Posted by Alia Haddad on June 7, 2012 at 7:41 am
It’s hard to quantify just how bad Chernobyl Diaries really was. But let me tell you, it was bad enough for me to wish that visual-effects artist turned first-time director, Bradley Parker, just stuck to what he knew and from now on leave the directing of movies to the people who know what they’re doing. The thing is though, that even with a different, more experienced director, I’m not sure it would make much of a difference.
Chernobyl Diaries is like Paranormal Activity meets The Hills Have Eyes meets the “Don’t Trust the Soviets” action films of the 1990s (a la Die Hard). That sounds great, right?! Well, I’m very sad to report that it was anything but. First of all, the plot, which tells the story of a group of friends who decide to do a little extreme touring in a small, evacuated, radiation-riddled town just outside of Chernobyl, Russia and subsequently come across angry and evil radioactive beings, is weak at best. Surprises and twists were kept to a bare minimum, and when they were included they were so predictable that the viewer almost wished they hadn’t included them.
Moving right along to the acting: saying it was bad would be an understatement. Believe it or not, Chernobyl Diaries‘s only star, Jesse McCartney (of pop star fame) didn’t do a good job (gasp!). This would-be horror movie was laced with so many out-of-place melodramatic moments that the acting, which had to go from horror to over-the-top emotion, was revealed as even worse than one had originally assumed it would be. Bad acting in these types of movies rarely take away from the movie as a whole as bad acting is usually expected, welcomed even in these B-type horror film homages. But in this case, the acting was so bad that it actually managed to take the viewer out of the story. Instead of sitting in a movie, waiting to be wowed, I felt like I was sitting in on a scene from a high school drama class. The word painful would be an understatement. And don’t even get me started on those accents!
The dialogue was expectedly bad, the soundtrack even worse, and the special effects were mediocre at best (which is surprising and disappointing given the director’s previous work). Chernobyl Diaries clocked in at a mere 90 minutes– 90 minutes of hard-to-sit-through bad.
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