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Dear Diary - This movie is terrible

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Chernobyl Diaries' bland, boring and uninspired

You know you're in for a long one when you're 15 minutes into a horror movie and you realize that you're already rooting for the heroes to die.

That, alas, was my lot upon watching 'Chernobyl Diaries.' The film's pedigree has been pushed pretty hard writer Oren Peli was the brains behind the 'Paranormal Activity' films but that comparison only serves to remind us how thin and gimmicky the 'PA' films turned out to be. Add to that the fact that the film was never screened for critics and you get a film that the studio is obviously less than enthused about.

The lack of enthusiasm is warranted.

'Chernobyl Diaries' follows a trio of blandly good-looking young people as they embark on a European tour. You've got Chris (Jesse McCartney, 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked'), his girlfriend Natalie (Olivia Dudley, 'Chillerama') and their friend Amanda (Devin Kelley, TV's 'Covert Affairs'). They wind up in Kiev visiting Chris's brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski, 'The Goods') as part of their trip.

Paul winds up talking the group into going on an 'extreme' tour a tour of the city of Pripyat, home to the workers (and their families) of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. The city was abandoned in minutes when the Chernobyl meltdown took place in 1986 and is still unsafe for habitation. Along with a honeymooning Australian couple and tour guide Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko, 'Burning Palms'), they set out to explore the vacant city. However, when it comes time to leave, they find themselves stranded.

And they are not alone.

It's too bad, really; this is actually an interesting premise. And some of the atmospheric shots of the empty Pripyat are legitimately creepy. Unfortunately, screenwriter Peli and first-time director Bradley Parker basically just dump uninteresting, unlikeable characters into the mix and let things play out.

I wasn't joking in the first line of this review. These people are both boring and terrible; they couldn't be murdered soon enough. Calling them two-dimensional is an insult to both the X-axis and the Y-axis is there such a thing as no-dimensional? As a group, this bunch managed to unironically commit just about every well-known horror film faux pas there is.

There's nothing particularly scary or suspenseful about this movie. Waiting forever for stuff to happen isn't suspenseful so much as it is dull. There's no real tension though my desire for everyone to die may have contributed to my opinion on that front and the initial promise of the concept is wasted as the whole thing devolves into standard uninspired horror schlock.

'Chernobyl Diaries' is the worst kind of bad movie - the kind of bad movie that might have actually had a shot at being good. Unfortunately, there are no bonus points for potential. If you like your horror boring, derivative and predictable, check out 'Chernobyl Diaries.' Otherwise, give it a miss.

1 out of 5

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