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Chernobyl Diaries [Blu-Ray]

Bradley Parker

Chernobyl Diaries [Blu-Ray]
4
Included with the Blu-Ray release of the unremarkable and exceptionally mediocre law and order admonitory, Chernobyl Diaries, is a self-titled viral video, which never actually went viral, doling out paranoid conspiracy theories about mysterious happenings in Chernobyl territory and the overall secrecy on the subject within the Ukrainian government. It's the sort of tactic that the Blair Witch boys creatively used 13 years ago to promote their low-grade found-footage horror, only in their case it was something fresh and culturally relevant, at the time. Here, it's just another example of staleness and irrelevance, exacerbating a generic plot — interchangeable young adults go to a foreign country and wind up imperilled because of their smug American-ness — that only reminds us of the many similar films that started this particular genre niche. Within this rote narrative is a bit of playful speculation about the Chernobyl disaster, noting that the land, and all of the housing in it, was abandoned quite quickly, leaving property, pets and other periphery items behind. The kids and their large Ukrainian tour guide wander around the locale, chattering about their experience without having much appreciation for what actually occurred. It's this casual handling of a past tragedy for personal adventure and entertainment that inspires some minor analysis, suggesting that with privilege comes a disturbingly solipsistic sense of entitlement and selfishness. Of course, wild, nuclear-mutated dogs eventually start attacking the kids, which throws this didactic out the window in favour of chaotic camera work and an abundance of running and yelling. And, unfortunately, save for a scene that randomly involves a bear, there's nothing here that's particularly unique, scary or even engaging beyond unfulfilled potential. Perhaps this is why the Blu-Ray includes only a deleted scene, the aforementioned viral video, and a terrible alternate ending that really should have been hidden from the general public for the sake of sheer embarrassment. (Warner)
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