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Chernobyl Diaries

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for violence, some bloody images and pervasive language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Horror Thriller Drama
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 25, 2012 (wide—2,450+ theaters)
DVD: October 16, 2012
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Featuring: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal … Zoe
Dimitri Diatchenko … Uri
Olivia Taylor Dudley … Natalie
Devin Kelley … Amanda
Jesse McCartney … Chris
See all »
Director: Bradley Parker
Producer: FilmNation Entertainment
Oren Peli … producer
See all »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Ten years ago, the Ukrainian government let tourists visit the area around Chernobyl. They said it was safe… it wasn’t.”

Twenty five years ago, there was a nuclear reactor that “went on the fritz” in the city of Chernobyl, Russia. Many had to evacuate due the nuclear hazards that awaited those who remained in the city. Six friends, twenty five years later, decide to take a trip around Europe. One of their stops happens to be in Russia. They decide, with the help of their “extreme tours” guide Yuri, to take a tour of the abandoned city of Chernobyl. However, they’re about to find out that they are not welcome there…

I don’t go to many horror movies. I have my reasons. I was interested in the “Chernobyl Diaries” because it sounded like a fascinating film, and I actually wanted to get scared. An abandoned nuclear city, six friends travel to it, the possibilities are endless, right? The purpose of this film is to scare the pants off of people, and, for me, it served its purpose. Some of the scary moments, however, are obvious, as has become custom for many horror/thriller films. In my mind, there are scenes where I said, “I should have seen that coming.” Other moments, however, I was genuinely surprised and scared.

It was tough trying to rate this film, the way I did, because the story is interesting, yet it is just average. There is nothing new about this film that hasn’t been done before. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed most of it. The “Chernobyl Diaries” is a horror film, and a good one. It’s just that the idea has been done way too many times before.

In terms of cinematic elements, the camera work needs work. At the very beginning, the camera is shot in the same manner that “Paranormal Activity” was shot (in a shaky, amateur video camera type manner), and then, out of nowhere, it returns to regular camera shots. Strange. There is very little cinema lighting—just available light. The acting is about average. Many of the scenes take place in old abandoned buildings, with little to no available light.

Objectionable Material

Violence: Heavy to Extreme. As to be expected with most horror films, there are multiple scenes of terror and violence. People are attacked by creatures, and there is much gun fire. There are scenes where trails of blood can be seen. There are also scenes where animals eat dead animals. There is much violence in this film (hence, the “R” rating), and I shall not detail it all.

Profanity: Extreme. After reviewing my notebook at the end of the film, I had tallied four instances where God’s name is taken in vain and two instances where our Lord’s name is taken in vain. There are eighty-two instances of the word “f**k,” nineteen “sh*t,” two “h*ll,” two “a**,” one “b*tch,” and one “mother-f***er,”. Other vulgar language includes the phrase “piss his pants,” and the word “p_ssy” is used.

Sex/Nudity: Mild. One woman wears a cleavage bearing outfit. A sexual reference is made to someone needing to “burn the sheets,” and a couple is seen kissing passionately.

Other: There are a couple scenes of alcohol use. There is a scene, shortly afterward, where a couple of the main characters appear drunk.

Spiritual Issues/Morals

With horror films, it’s hard to find any good morals or positive issues to draw from. In this case, it is the issue of fear. Fear, in my opinion, is an attack from our enemy who wishes us to forget that God is in control and that He is in charge. If we keep this thought in mind, we will never need to truly fear anything in our lives. Nothing. As the Bible says in the book of Isaiah:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” -Isaiah 41:10 (New International Version)

You’re probably wondering at this point if I recommend the film, right? Well, I do not—not to anyone, Christian or otherwise. Besides the fact that there are extreme amounts of violence, terror, and profanity, there is nothing really novel here—it been done before. The scary moments are where one would expect them. As I said, I enjoyed parts of this film, but other moments made me wonder why I went. It is not a great movie.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments


Negative—I gave this movie a half a star because I wasn’t able to give it no stars at all. This movie was not well done at all and nothing makes sense in it. Most of the movie is set in the night time and involves people shining their flashlights around in the dark while the camera shakes. At one point, the sun rises and the day begins, but it is suddenly, and unexpectedly nightfall again before the characters can do virtually anything. And this left completely unexplained in the movie. This is not a scary movie, because virtually nothing that happens is done well enough to make it scary. And I can’t think of a redeeming quality anywhere in the movie.

Do not waste your time or your money on this movie. This is the most disappointing movie I have seen in a very long time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
Janell, age 41 (USA)

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