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Posted on 5/26/12 04:37 PM
This movie is just terrible. The plot: Four idiots (Leo DiCaprio Lookalike, Gary Sinise Lookalike, Brunette Chick, and Blond Chick) decide to go on an "extreme tour" of a town near Chernobyl. They go with two fellow "extreme tourists" (Australian Dude and his girlfriend, Norwegian Chick) and their tour guide, Uri (the only name you will remember). Once there they are attacked and killed one-by-one offscreen by mutants you never get a clear look at.
This is not a found footage movie, although it looks like it. It's every bit as poorly shot and badly lit as one. This is one of the most poorly made films I've ever seen in theater. It's like they try to apply found-footage principles to a movie that isn't a found footage movie. And what are those principles? Murky, shaky, amateur cinematography. Sorry, incompetent camera work works in a found footage movie (where the footage actually is amateur footage), but in a normal movie, it's just incompetent.
The movie is boring for the first half. They try to establish characters, but they're so ridiculously bland and unmemorable that I don't even know why they bothered. It didn't make me care when they died. The one memorable character is Uri, their ex-Russian special forces tour guide, and he dies first. The film picks up when they get to the city, offering up some unintentionally funny moments such as when a bear turns up in a building (a jump scare that elicited laughter from the audience), and the big "shock ending" had me and my fellow movie goers simply laughing and then asking each other "why did they do that?" The "they" in that sentence can go for the characters or the filmmakers, in case you were wondering.
There are several moments where you will ask yourself "why the hell would they do that?" I know horror movies are sort of known for characters making dumb decisions, but it's reaches some pretty ridiculous levels here. On more than one occasion while the characters are walking in one direction, their Geiger counter starts going off. They realize that they are entering a dangerously radioactive area, but they keep going despite the fact that THEY DON"T NEED TO GO THAT WAY. If anything, more radioactivity is a sign that they're going in the WRONG DIRECTION to get out of the city.
Like I said, the mutants are mostly kept in shadows. "Less is more" can often work (as in Jaws or Val Lewton's movies), but here, it's just an annoyance. There's no real suspense or atmosphere because the characters are so bland and the photography is so amateur, so at the very least they could have supplied us with some The Hills Have Eyes style man vs. mutant action but, alas, they don't.
This is a bad movie. Not exactly a horrible one, but definitely not worth spending any money on. This thing was practically made for Netflix.