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Chernobyl Diaries (2012)



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

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


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

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



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 141,343

My Rating

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,


Drama, Horror

Oct 16, 2012


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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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.

June 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Bradley Parker shakes his camera around a lot.

May 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop 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.

May 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comments (5)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 25, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

May 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Slate | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop 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.

May 25, 2012 Full Review Source: TheWrap
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
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.

February 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

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

January 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
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.

October 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

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

October 8, 2012 Full Review Source: SciFiNow

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

October 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
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.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant

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

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
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.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
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.

July 20, 2012 Full Review Source:

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

June 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
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.

June 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
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.

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

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

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

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

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Sun Online | Comments (2)
Sun Online

There is a scary and surreal appearance by a bear.

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

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

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

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

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

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

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

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

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Audience Reviews for Chernobyl Diaries

Cannot even believe I paid to see this.
December 25, 2013

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'.
June 1, 2013
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
April 9, 2013
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.
February 19, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Uri: Levels are good!
    – Submitted by Johnny N (20 months ago)
    1. Uri: Tell me if you see something moving in the water.
    – Submitted by Aidan B (2 years ago)
    1. Amanda: My friends are idiots.
    – Submitted by Aidan B (2 years ago)
    1. Chris: It's a hazard to have you as my brother!
    – Submitted by Jay A (2 years ago)
    1. Uri: I work alone.
    – Submitted by David M (2 years ago)
    1. Chris: Here we go.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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