Have A Cold One

Chernobyl Diaries

chernobyl diaries cover

Jonathan Sadowski as Paul
Jesse McCartney as Chris
Olivia Taylor Dudley as Natalie
Devin Kelley as Amanda
Nathan Phillips as Michael
Ingrid Bolso Berdal as Zoe

Dimitri Diatcheknko as Uri

"Almost getting mauled to death by a radioactive bear from hell? Pretty exciting."
– Any time you can actually say that to describe your day with a straight face you win the internet.


It seems like a dick move to make a horror movie about a real nuclear disaster when there are people alive today that are still suffering from radiation-related health problems. There. I had to say it. Because it is kind of a dick move when the premise of your movie is to show the victims as radioactive feral ghouls...just like you'd see in the video game Fallout 4.

But one thing about the premise- you REALLY can go on tours of the place. I was really surprised to learn that. Who would have thought that a disaster like Chernobyl could be made into a tourist attraction? I'm now firmly convinced that people are just plain coo-coo for cocoa puffs.

Chris and his fiancée, Natalie along with her friend Amanda are touring Europe and one of their stops is in the Ukraine to visit Chris' brother, Paul. Paul works there and speaks the local language and he's promised to take them to Moscow for a fun night of…hell, I don't know what they do in Moscow for fun. Drink vodka I guess. But those plans change when Paul suggests taking a trip to Pripyat, an evacuated town near Chernobyl. His friend Uri runs an Extreme Tours business and will cart them out there in an old crappy van. Though Chris is reluctant, the others talk him into it, and the group is joined by Michael and Zoe, two other travelers.

A snag is hit when soldiers at a checkpoint tell them that they can't visit Pripyat today. But Uri assures the group he knows another way into the town. Only once does Chris say something about getting caught and thrown into a Ukrainian prison, and then Paul quickly dismisses that happening. What a jackass. I hate it when some stupid chumps go to another country, break a law they knew better than to break, get arrested and then they're all over the TV with people protesting that they should be set free because "America". Dipshits. Of course, these people will wish they were caught soon enough.

They spend the day wandering around an evacuated and ruined town, they see a mutant fish and a bear and some feral dogs, and Uri tells them they won't be there long enough to be harmed by the radiation. Again, dipshits, you know how else you can protect yourself from radiation? Not going to a radioactive zone. Just go to Moscow and take pictures, ya morons!

When it's time to leave, they discover that someone or something has chewed through the cables in Uri's van…they're stranded and its 12 miles back to the checkpoint. It's also a horror movie so don't be surprised that no one can get cell phone reception. Since there are feral dogs about, Uri suggests they stay in his van until sunrise and hike out, but goes to investigate some strange noises with Chris…and that's when the radioactive mutants start picking them off one by one.

The movie tries to out-Blair Witch the Blair Witch Project by never really letting us see the mutants. Most of the action in the scary scenes is done in a shaky cam motion and with quick cuts. When there are mutants on the screen they are shadowed heavily so you never quite get a feel for what they look like.

The characters are, well, bland. They're not over the top like some horror movies make characters. There's no "Jock", or "Bitchy Girl" or "nerdy guy" they're just people. Annoying people. Mostly because everything they do is detrimental to their own survival. Geiger counter says the radiation is getting too high in one area? Hey, let's scrounge for car parts to fix the van instead of getting' out of dodge. The monsters that have already brutally killed Uri took our friends? Let's go look for them in a dark building where we think the monsters are even though we are completely unable to combat them. (hilariously they do this and then run at the first sign of a mutant).

The end of the movie is supposed to a twist shocker so I'm not going to give it away even though it's not that shocking. I'd say it's a downer ending but by the time you get to it you'll be thinking they kind of asked for it by not using the slightest bit of common sense.

I don't know about you, but I'm still creeped out that you can really go on a tour of this place like its something fun to do.


1.) Man, I hate it when there's dialogue to explain something to the audience that doesn't actually matter and any viewer with a working brain cell would have figured out anyway. Michael introduces his girlfriend Zoe as "his Viking." Then Paul asks "Whats up with the whole Viking thing?" just so Zoe can tell him she's from Norway. Yeah, we kinda guessed that when Michael called her a Viking. The whole blonde hair with blue eyes thing gave it away also, dumbass. Zoe then refers to Michael as her "Australian Surfer Dude"...yeah, I got that too, you know with his accent. Thank God there wasn't an Irish dude with an Greek girlfriend here or we'd have to find out that they refer to each other as "4-leaf Clover" and "Athena".

the gang
PICTURED: A buffet for radioactive mutants.

2.) The tour group sure takes seeing a dead mutant fish next to possibly radioactibve lake pretty well. Uri even dunks his hand in the water to pull a prank. I guess none of them have ever played Fallout 4. That's how the Mirelurks get ya!
• I don't care if it was dead, if I saw a mutant anything on the edge of a radiation zone I ain't goin'.
• In order to get into one of the buildings in Pripyat, Uri has to kick the door in. Later on a bear runs past the group (without attacking any of them). If Uri had to kick the door in for the group to enter, how'd the bear get in there?

3.) There is no way Michael could see the distributor cap that Uri pulls out of his van when it won't start, but he comments "It's been chewed on!" before Uri...who is actually holding the darned thing, says anything.
• These are the stupidest, whiniest, self-entitled group of pricks to travel with. After the van won't start they spend time bickering over tiny crap, and then when Uri produces a pistol to investigate strange noises in the dark Chris is all "What's with the gun!?" as if he's so alarmed that Uri has a gun. Listen, you little snot, you've seen a dead mutant fish, a dead mutant dog and a very alive radioactive bear just today and now you're stuck in this place at least until morning and there's strange noises nearby. Now is not the time to be all anti-gun.
• Chris goes with Uri to investigate the sounds they hear in the night and gets attacked by something. Uri goes missing, but Paul runs out and manages to drag Chris back to the van with a bloody and injured leg. When asked what attacked them Chris just says there were a lot of them. A pack of dogs assualt the van, so everyone assumes they were beset by feral canines...I mean feral radioactive canines. But when light breaks and Paul Amanda and Michael go to search for the missing Uri Amanda comments on Chris' wound with "Those weren't dog bites". How the hell would she know? (Later on she tells the others how she saw a figure in a window in one of the digital photos she took, but decided to say NOTHING)
• As of the moment I am writing this I have not seen the end of the movie. I predict though that Michael is the next to go down. Why? He's the only one of the characters that isn't whiney, he's got courage (he suggests looking for Uri when Amanda and Paul want to give him up for dead) and he seems competent. Can't have that in a movie like this.
• Well, I was kind of right, if you don't count Chris. Zoe was really broken up about it, too...she's only known him a month (her own words). I'm kind of jealous. After a month most girls I dated were glad to be rid of me.

"Maybe I should tell the others about this?...NAH...it will be whacky fun when the mysterious figures come for us."

4.) Paul is so desperate to find Chris and Natalie after they discover the van missing and Natalies phone with a recording of something attacking. He's pretty much screaming "CHRISSSS!" in the night, which the others try to make him cease doing. (it's only alerting whatever the hell is out there to their location, not to mention the feral dogs) But the split second Paul and the gang get a nanosecond glimpse of a mutant in a building they're searching all of that determination to find their friends vaporizes. Its actually funny to see Paul go from"I gotta save my brother!" to screaming and running away so quickly. All they needed was some Benny Hill music.

5.) With everyone else having been snatched up by the mutant whatever-they-ares, Amanda actually tells Paul "We can still find them!" Sister, are you high? Looking for Chris is how you went from 5 people to 2. (they found Natalie hiding, but she is quickly snatched away again). Besides what makes you think they're alive? They snuffed Uri pretty damned quick, theres no reason the believe they wouldn't kill anyone else with the quickness.
• These bozos would have a better chance if they'd stop ignoring the gieger counter. Every time they hear it go off they just comment "The radiation is getting higher! We can't stay here!" Then they keep freaking going! It's not until Paul and Amanda start showing visible signs of radiation poisoning that they start taking it seriously. Hell, by that time it's too late!

6.) I'm still amazed that they didn't go with the original plan of hiking back to the checkpoint. 12 miles? Yeah, I wouldn't be happy about it, but maybe it's because of my army career....we used to hump 12 miles with full rucks and battle rattle. It sucked to be sure, but these kids are young and fit...they should have been able to leave at dawn and get help by lunch time.

Yeah, I'll totally go near this creepy kid after watching my friends get murdered by mutants all night.


♦ Uri seems to be aware of the radioactive mutants from the start, but he doesn't say anything to the others. I could be wrong about that, but at one point he is seen covering up indications of the mutants so the others won't see it, and he always remarks that it is not safe to stay in Pripyat after dark.

♦ Even when the group realizes that they are being picked off by unseen attackers in the dark the proceed to make as much noise as humanly possible everywhere they go. If they had some freaking drums and cymbals they'd have used them. Stupid whippersnappers...haven't they ever heard of noise and light discipline?

♦ One big hangover this movie gave me was the idea that the group would WANT to go on this "Extreme Tour" of the site of a nuclear meltdown. You know what? You can find abandoned ghost towns somewhere else to explore if that floats your boat. Somewhere else that isn't radioactive. (Yes, you REALLY can book tours of Chernobyl and Pripyat in real life. I wouldn't, but your mileage may vary)


Here are some Tropes from this movie:

° No one gets out of this place alive....
° Amanda's fate is sealed when the Russian Government realizes she knows too much.
° Chris and Michael are the only two in the party that seem to have any common sense.


It's not the fact that the Chernobyl disaster is a real tragedy that sinks this movies beer count, it's the fact that all of the characters are kind of unlikable, with the exception of perhaps Michael. But he's not the "main character" so it's even more grating when he says something sensible and the others blow him off. People watch movies like this expecting the characters to be whacked one by one, but when you actively start wishing for them to croak, its not a good sign.

two beers

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