For some time into CHERNOBYL DIARIES, I was mentally composing a "snarky" review that would have emphasized all of the cliches that went into the setup of the film: from the "camcorder" montage introduction (although this is NOT a "found footage" mockumentary), the cheap sentiment attempted by the unveiling of an engagement ring intended to be presented at an unspecified future time, the "let's go OFF COURSE" dare (sure, it worked out wonderfully in THE DESCENT and THE RUINS, so why don't WE try it?) and the inevitable stranding... I was even toying with the idea of adopting the voice of "extreme tour guide" Uri throughout ("Not to worry... I hav secret entrance... ah, shitski, van won't start...").
Nevertheless, once the film dispenses with the obligatory false scare (amply spoiled in the trailer), the first REAL scare (and I'm not talking about the fish) is a doozy, the desolate Hungarian/Slovakian locations subbing for the outskirts of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor provide a more than adequate "creep" factor, there's plenty of danger that the trailers did NOT spoil, the characters are provided with legitimate reasons to take the chances they do (where you'd normally want to yell "DON'T DO THAT, YOU IDIOT!") and once the movie starts chugging away, it's actually quite gripping, derivative though it may be.
You really don't need more of a review than that. CHERNOBYL DIARIES is formula that works.
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