Chernobyl Diaries Takes a Scary Trip to a Familiar Place

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Chernobyl Diaries Takes a Scary Trip to a Familiar Place

Chernobyl Diaries, the new horror film from the creator of Paranormal Activity, is a very STALKER-like journey into the mutated hellhole of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The "exclusion zone" created by the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is not a happy place. It's made somewhat tolerable in the great STALKER games by the tremendous number of guns at the player's disposal, but what would happen if, instead of tough, hard-bitten Ukrainians with automatic weapons, the interlopers were privileged American hipsters armed with nothing but pocket digital cameras?

Chernobly Diaries, the new movie from Paranormal Activity creator Orel Peli, is what. The film follows the unpleasant adventures of a half-dozen "extreme tourists" and their seedy-looking guide as they take in the sights of the ruined city of Pripyat. But things go predictably wrong when it's time to head home: car won't start, sun goes down and you can pretty much take it from there.

The film looks like it will have its fair share of frightening moments, at least based on this trailer, but it will probably also be very familiar to STALKER veterans. That apartment building? Been there. Those underground tunnels? Been there. That creepy doll thing? Yeah, I shot that dude, but take my advice: you're better off just leaving him alone. It's a trap!

Chernobyl Diaries opens in the U.S. on May 25.

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I've heard that the Paranormal Activity films were crap but this looks pretty cool. Also the guide looks like a fat Nikko Bellic.

Nothing in this movie will be as scary as that village filled with bloodsuckers in Shadow of Chernobyl. Especially if you stumbled onto it like me when you were just exploring. The fact that the bastards love to flank you there doesn't help.

I'm not a huge fan of the Paranormal Activity films - they're decent - but I at least expected something more from the director than 'Mutant freaks hunt people in abandoned/creepy/derelict place.' It's the same thing we've seen from Wrong Turn, Creep, The Hills Have Eyes, The Descent and one could argue a great deal slasher films follow that motif of a people being hunted and picked off one by one in a single location. It's such a generic dull premise that's been done to death, and the trailer shows no signs of bucking the trend whatsoever. It even has the 'THEY SABOTAGED OUR TRANSPORT WHILE WE WERE AWAY' moment.

"It sounds like a baby..."

I remember hearing that too in Call of Pripyat. What a nasty surprise that turned out to be...

Anyway. This looks alright. If only because of it's vague relations to STALKER. But this collection of random sexy youngsters whose sole purpose is to all die horrible deaths is a pretty meh premise.

I guess I say that because I'd rather see an actual film or something based on STALKER/Roadside Picnic instead. It's just, much more interesting than this... Wait, there's already a film about that? Time to watch it!

Wouldn't it be hard to hide in the shadows if your skin was glowing?

Yeah, it's hardly the most original thing to be put on the big screen, it's pretty much Friday the 13th Part Ukraine, but I do like the STALKER connection. If nothing else, the trailer really drives home just how accurately GSC nailed the look and feel of Pripyat.

Tohuvabohu:
"It sounds like a baby..."

I guess I say that because I'd rather see an actual film or something based on STALKER/Roadside Picnic instead. It's just, much more interesting than this... Wait, there's already a film about that? Time to watch it!

You could try that terrible looking Russian TV series based on the game.
Or just watch the amazing film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. It may not resemble the game but it's a fantastic film (well, at least I think so)

So, this movie...does it check all the boxes?
Soviet Stereotypes. Check.
Stupid Teens. Check.
Accepted racism towards anyone non-American. Not sure, but I'll go ahead and say Check.
Ghosts picking people off one by one. Check.

I think the main attraction for most of us is the setting.

I was planning on taking a Pripyat tour last summer, but my girlfriend refused to go with me. She grew up in the soviet union, so this kind of thing is boring for her and she couldn't understand why I would want to go to such a place.
Her refusal pretty much killed my plans since I needed her for translations and to avoid getting ripped off. Ahaha.

Eh. I might see it.

Well, at least it's a nice break from "ghost hunting mockumentaries" and zombie movies. But if it follows on the heels of STALKER, then there's plenty of room for both ghosts and zombies, among other nasties.

Also, ever since the Pripyat part of Call of Duty 4 (the best part of the whole game IMHO), I've became more and more interested in that god-forsaken place, really nice to get yourself depressed for a moment and for some nice horror/haunting stories.

Those bastards stole my idea! 0.0 Just last week I decided I would go see Chernobyl some day. And just a couple of hours ago I summarized that a couple of places I still really want to see in my life are Zion National Park and the city of Pripyat. Huh... Maybe this trailer is some sort of divine warning sign... =/

Blind Sight:
Nothing in this movie will be as scary as that village filled with bloodsuckers in Shadow of Chernobyl. Especially if you stumbled onto it like me when you were just exploring. The fact that the bastards love to flank you there doesn't help.

Worse. The sewer tunnel, with one. Just one, but it's terrifying, because I wasn't expecting it at all. And it was dark. I had never seen one before, and then BAM! I get hit, turn around, see nothing. Patch myself up, it hits me again, I still couldn't see it. I was toying with me. Scariest shit ever, man. Damn ultra-intelligent AI...

OT: Well, looks good, I saw this when the gscstalker twitter account mentioned it. I'd have preferred an actual S.T.A.L.K.E.R. movie though. Whatever became of that planned tv show?

I really do love the story of Chernobyl and Pripyat. Amazing, scary, and mysterious that place...

I won't watch this though. I really don't want to shriek like a little girl in a movie theatre. I may watch it at home with my friends who also love the games. At least we'll scream together.

Huh this looked pretty good.. until the shot of them wandering around reactor 4. I'm not an expert but is that realy something you'd want to do? Or... survive doing?

Maybe it's better explained in the film, or maybe the control room's shielded or something but... meh.

Why do Americans like doing the thing where they mix Cyrillic and Latin letters? It confounds my family, though I myself am used to it.

Things are coming full circle... STALKER was inspired by the movie Stalker, which was inspired by a book

This doesn't look to bad. I might go see-awww who am I kidding, I have no theater near me and no friends to go anyways.

Was anyone else reminded of the end part to the Pripyat level in CoD4 when they were at the ferris wheel?

Kinda interesting if only for the setting, the rest appears to be your average people being hunted by x horror but I'll probably end up seeing it.

Boring! Changing the setting in a typical teen-horror flick doesn't make it better.

I was interested until I saw "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY". If the trailer is an accurate representation of the film, then this is going to be one of those things with a brilliant setting for a horror film with a generic plotline that'll be incredibly easy to predict.
*sigh*, I can't remember the last time I saw a good horror movie. I honestly can't. I watch a lot of them, and they're all either complete crap or flatout mediocre. I love horror, it's just that nobody can get it right.

Andy Chalk:

Chernobly Diaries, the new movie from Paranormal Activity creator Orel Peli, is what.

I'm guessing you wanted to say "is that" at the end.

Also, seems interesting, but really off the charts regarding probability, which always ruins the horror in a movie for me. If the explosion which took place around 30 years ago actually did spawn mutants, the whole place would be surrounded by the military 24/7 and a bunch of hipsters wouldn't be able to go do "extreme" (really?) tourism.

Like I said, this kind of ruins the mood for me.

hey the blonde is from 5secondfilms!

DVS BSTrD:
Wouldn't it be hard to hide in the shadows if your skin was glowing?

yes but if we assume that they are all american teenagers on this trip and the films backbone is made of clichés, we can clearly say that:

a) they are on drugs acting like douchebags.
b) they always assume that a bright light can only mean that it's someone to rescue them.
c) bright light means RAVE PARTAYY!!! with lots of coitus and drugs.

they had time to walk away but chose to stay until its pitch black then leave the car, seperate the group and go alone in dark rooms with big 'we will fuck you up if you enter this particular room' Door hangers.
and i only saw the trailer.

To me this seems just... disappointing. Another horror film based on the same exact scheme - bunch of kids going some place scary for the thrill and it suddenly goes bad (duh?). No surprise here. The only twist in this is that it's Chernobyl.

You know what is really scary? The amount of lives that catastrophe took to clean up, the guts and sacrifice of people who tried to contain it. But mostly the fact that the whole thing might happen again because the concrete block that covers what is left of the reactor is slowly degrading and Ukraine has no money to fix it.

As for the mutants... There were some cases of two-headed pigs (people still live in the area as they had no place to move) but radiation does not mutate things, it just kills them. Anyway, after the catastrophe USSR military did contain the area and shot all animals they found. You can actually go on a trip there, but the "extreme" part doesn't come from the fact that there are mutants, but because there are places around there with a still very high level of radiation.

so..... S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: The Movie based on the game based on the movie but not really....

meh, might check it out, as long as there happens to be a "Get out of here, Stalker!" line in it.

Still though, here's hoping for an actual updated S.T.A.L.K.E.R. movie.

mmaruda:
To me this seems just... disappointing. Another horror film based on the same exact scheme - bunch of kids going some place scary for the thrill and it suddenly goes bad (duh?). No surprise here. The only twist in this is that it's Chernobyl.

You know what is really scary? The amount of lives that catastrophe took to clean up, the guts and sacrifice of people who tried to contain it. But mostly the fact that the whole thing might happen again because the concrete block that covers what is left of the reactor is slowly degrading and Ukraine has no money to fix it.

As for the mutants... There were some cases of two-headed pigs (people still live in the area as they had no place to move) but radiation does not mutate things, it just kills them. Anyway, after the catastrophe USSR military did contain the area and shot all animals they found. You can actually go on a trip there, but the "extreme" part doesn't come from the fact that there are mutants, but because there are places around there with a still very high level of radiation.

wish I had the story of the three Soviet personnel that swam though radioactive water to turn off a valve before it could spread out of the facility, essentially killing themselves to help contain the disaster.

Also, from what I've read, there are still very few people living in the excursion zone, something like less than 10 or so. While I agree, it shouldn't be considered extreme when the government itself does public tours, they could be going for the extreme angle that they are there illegally and should something go wrong, the government wouldn't be coming to the rescue.

Still, even though most people who passed highschool science would know what exactly radiation would do to you, its still entertaining to see mutants, ala Hills Have Eyes.

CrossLOPER:
Why do Americans like doing the thing where they mix Cyrillic and Latin letters? It confounds my family, though I myself am used to it.

because it just has to look 'exotic'. people do not care that it does not make any sense.
image
yeah you can read thai now. that are clearly the thai words for 'for sale'.

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and the twist ending will be that all this was part of the tour.

When you said 'Pocket digital Cameras' and 'Director of paranormal activity' my mind went to shaky cam and terrible. I was wrong, it actually looks to be a pretty decent flick.

Looks rubbish.

The Hills Have Eyes on Chernobyl. No S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s and the same dude from Paranormal Activity?

Might watch it and grow an ironic mustache. Or not.

6SteW6:
When you said 'Pocket digital Cameras' and 'Director of paranormal activity' my mind went to shaky cam and terrible. I was wrong, it actually looks to be a pretty decent flick.

Yeh, if there's one thing the film may have going for it, it's that it's not using shaky cam.

Hard to decide what I actually think about this film. On the one hand, I'm up for a creepy horror film set in Chernobyl but on the other hand, it doesn't look like we'll get anything other than the standard running around scared while some unlucky soul gets dragged off into the darkness by some shadowy figure. Oh, and maybe a creepy kid thrown in for good measure, I suppose.

Speaking of Orel Peli, what happened to that tv series he was working on, The River. Should it not have started by now? Does it even exist anymore? Not that I was particularly interested in it or anything. Just curious.

MarsProbe:

6SteW6:
When you said 'Pocket digital Cameras' and 'Director of paranormal activity' my mind went to shaky cam and terrible. I was wrong, it actually looks to be a pretty decent flick.

Yeh, if there's one thing the film may have going for it, it's that it's not using shaky cam.

Hard to decide what I actually think about this film. On the one hand, I'm up for a creepy horror film set in Chernobyl but on the other hand, it doesn't look like we'll get anything other than the standard running around scared while some unlucky soul gets dragged off into the darkness by some shadowy figure. Oh, and maybe a creepy kid thrown in for good measure, I suppose.

Speaking of Orel Peli, what happened to that tv series he was working on, The River. Should it not have started by now? Does it even exist anymore? Not that I was particularly interested in it or anything. Just curious.

Yeah it definetly seems a bit generic, but if nothing else it has a cool setting going for it.

I heard ABC is already talking about cancelling the river after this season airs and they are in talks with Netflix about picking it up. So if it's not on already then it doesn't look like the network has much confidence in it. If it is on already it must be bad because I haven't heard any promotions for it and no ones talking about it :S

I'll be sitting this one out. Paranormal Activity was crap and over an hour of "When's it supposed to get good?" I'll definitely be skipping this one.

Also it broke the cardinal rule of "From the maker/s of _____". Never watch a movie with that.

After 3 seconds I started to hate the main characters. Not a good sign. Also, why is the guide dressed like Niko Bellic who was dressed like that guy from "Behind enemy lines"? Is it a new dress code for all Eastern/Southeastern Europeans? Do I have to wear that now?

Andy Chalk:
but it will probably also be very familiar to STALKER veterans.

No it won't, because they didn't do their homework. I could've made a better set from memory.

It doesn't look like it'll be a very good movie, but the setting might be enough to make it worth renting.

There is a reason that STALKER literally made me lose sleep. It wasn't a movie with the standard "Dumb teens/young adults trapped in hellhole x" plot (actually, it was the bloodsuckers). And there were more Russians. Ukrainians. Whatever, they all had thick accents and spoke Russian when I wasn't looking.

I know the young-tourists-get-what-they're-asking-for cliché is tired, but that premise never gets any less scary. Damn Prypiat.

Tohuvabohu:

I guess I say that because I'd rather see an actual film or something based on STALKER/Roadside Picnic instead. It's just, much more interesting than this... Wait, there's already a film about that? Time to watch it!

If you mean this one http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079944/ don't hold your breath. It's not interesting at all, if you watch it with the wrong expectations. It's over 2 hours of literally nothing happening. Just 3 men, walking through deserted buildings and playing Lava - "No no, don't go there, bad things will happen."
But NOTHING HAPPENS! The "Zone" does nothing, that frustrated the hell out of me when I watched it ^^

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