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Chernobyl Diaries (2012)


Average Rating: 4/10
Reviews Counted: 85
Fresh: 16
Rotten: 69

Critics Consensus: Despite an interesting premise and spooky atmospherics, Chernobyl Diaries is mostly short on suspense and originality.

Average Rating: 3.6/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 13

Critics Consensus: Despite an interesting premise and spooky atmospherics, Chernobyl Diaries is mostly short on suspense and originality.


Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 141,393


Movie Info

Chernobyl Diaries is an original story from Oren Peli, who first terrified audiences with his groundbreaking thriller, Paranormal Activity. The film follows a group of six young vacationers who, looking to go off the beaten path, hire an "extreme" tour guide. Ignoring warnings, he takes them into the city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, but a deserted town since the disaster more than 25 years ago. After a brief exploration of the abandoned city, … More

R (for violence, some bloody images and pervasive language)
Drama , Horror
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Oct 16, 2012
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Chernobyl Diaries

All Critics (85) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (69) | DVD (3)

Once the annoying, two-dimensional characters start getting bumped off one by one, it's just a relief that the actors have stopped improvising their own banal dialogue.

Full Review… | June 19, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Director Bradley Parker shakes his camera around a lot.

Full Review… | May 29, 2012
Time Out New York
Top Critic

The real stars of the movie are the tired devices and plot points. They're famous, but they're as old as Betty White: The Guide Is Dead, The Van Won't Start, Her Shirt Has a Plunging Neckline, Don't Go in There.

Full Review… | May 28, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Standard-issue genre accessories (dank stairways, flashlights, overcast skies, frosty windows) abound; shocks are mild and few.

Full Review… | May 25, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

You might actively root for their collective demise, if you could rouse yourself to care one way or the other. Go gallivanting in Chernobyl and you get what you pay for, nimrods.

Full Review… | May 25, 2012
Top Critic

First-time director Bradley Parker (working from a script co-written by Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli) understands that suggesting is scarier than showing, and confusion generates more suspense than explanations do.

Full Review… | May 25, 2012
Top Critic

A cool concept is compromised when this film descends into predictable territory.

Full Review… | June 30, 2013
Big Hollywood

After one effective scene involving a radiated Russian bear, the quality of first-time director Bradley Parker's narrative starts melting down like a TEPCO facility.

Full Review… | February 15, 2013

There's nothing but many empty scares and zero resolution...

Full Review… | January 9, 2013
Cinema Crazed

Its strengths make it worth paying attention to, while its weaknesses prevent it from becoming the first-class chiller it had the potential to be.

Full Review… | October 21, 2012
Aisle Seat

Unsatisfactory both as a low-budget schlocker and as a piece of entertainment.

Full Review… | October 8, 2012

There's nothing interesting, creative, innovative, exciting, suspenseful, or scary about it. We just sit there and wait for it to be over.

Full Review… | October 6, 2012
Movie Metropolis

Chernobyl Diaries is a mismatched effort that was working with some intriguing core elements -- undermined by worn-out recreations of familiar horror set-ups.

Full Review… | September 27, 2012

Sitting through this shaky-cam disaster of Chernobyl-like proportions is simply not worth your time, money or equilibrium.

Full Review… | September 15, 2012
We Got This Covered

Dialogue is banal, the camerawork's predictable, and any subtext's missing in all the action. The flick's irradiated with a general insensitivity to human tragedy. The place, though, is deeply eerie on its own.

Full Review… | July 24, 2012
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

"Chernobyl Diaries" is just senseless, idiotic, and pointless. If a horror movie is going to be chock full of people making stupid decisions, it would be nice if they were at least somewhat logical.

Full Review… | July 20, 2012

There's a great idea hiding in there somewhere - shame they didn't find it.

Full Review… | June 24, 2012
Observer [UK]

You've seen this sort of thing before - just not set in such an unusual locale. 'Chernobyl Diaries' delivers on atmosphere - at least, during the first. That's not surprising considering that Oren Peli of 'Paranormal Activity' fame is a producer.

Full Review… | June 23, 2012
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

For a film with radioactive bears running around, it's often strangely dull, though the final descent into the concrete maw of the reactor itself is memorably hellish.

Full Review… | June 22, 2012
Daily Telegraph

A rote run-and-scream wannabe scarefest that fails to deliver more than rudimentary chills.

Full Review… | June 22, 2012
SFX Magazine

Someone should bury Chernobyl Diaries deep underground in a lead-lined box so it cannot contaminate any more film goers.

Full Review… | June 22, 2012
Sun Online

There is a scary and surreal appearance by a bear.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012

A second-rate horror from Paranormal Activity writer Oren Peli.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012
Daily Express

Diaries is dark and gruesome, but with little in the way of genuine shock or surprise, you should expect the expected.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012
Total Film

It's watchable enough, topical and slightly better than your average 'attractive young people in peril' movie.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012
Birmingham Post

Doesn't set out to reinvent the horror wheel but succeeds as solid genre entertainment.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012
Little White Lies

Audience Reviews for Chernobyl Diaries

Cannot even believe I paid to see this.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

Bad acting, predictable scares, insipid writing, and utterly devoid of any compelling suspense or surprises; this horror schlock wastes away its eerie premise to become a lackluster rip-off of 'The Hills Have Eyes'.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Straight to the point: Chernobyl Diaries has some of the worst acting/script/motivations I have seen in a movie, along with incredibly predictable 'scares'. YET, it has probably the best untapped location of any horror.
From the offset, you're introduced to some 'cool' kids who'll annoy the hell out of you immediately. Nothing is believable, none of the characters connect with you or each other. I hated the characters so much I was literally waiting for them to be lynched by the monsters. The only characters/actors I appreciated was a tour guy who takes them to Chernobyl and a hippie Australian who tags along with his hollow girlfriend.
Not surprising (and this was the reason I went to see the movie) was the fact the movie improved ten-fold when they arrive in Chernobyl. The location is astonishingly eerie and you can easily believe the myths of mutants living there. Here the film actually becomes scary to some extent and you feel yourself tensing up.
Until of course, the actors interrupt your concentration with some appalling, predictable stuff.
And so the finale winds down with your typical 'running blindly (literally at the very end), being chased by hordes of evil freaks'. And characters don't die so much as get whisked away into the darkness. Whenever the movie builds up to something scary, it's always undone by a disappointing result, leaving you a little bit deflated each time.
2 Stars 4-5-13

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


The story of Chernobyl has always fascinated me. It was a complete surprise to me when I finished this film to was a complete and utter turd. Great idea, but poorly executed mostly due to the script.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Chernobyl Diaries Quotes

Levels are good!
– Submitted by Johnny N (21 months ago)
Tell me if you see something moving in the water.
– Submitted by Aidan B (2 years ago)
My friends are idiots.
– Submitted by Aidan B (2 years ago)
It's a hazard to have you as my brother!
– Submitted by Jay A (2 years ago)
I work alone.
– Submitted by David M (2 years ago)
Here we go.
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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