Cast/Crew: Directorial debut of Bradley Parker (Viz FX – Fight Club, Let Me In), screenplay by Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity series), starring Jonathan Sadowski (Die Hard 4.0), Jesse McCartney (2008’s Keith) and Olivia Dudley (Chillerama).
Plot: A couple of Americans decide to visit Pripyat, Ukraine, a ghost town near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The restricted area isn’t home to just stray wildlife…! Of course this is pure science-fiction, as actual Chernobyl affects resulted in ~250 dying of radiation sickness and ~5,000 eventual deaths attributed to cases of Thyroid cancer. But don’t let the facts get in the way of this horror film!
Good points :
• Great setting for a horror film – shot in Hungary and Serbia, place looks absolutely desolate after a massive nuclear disaster.
• The pace & story keeps moving forward
• Does well with the quite limited budget
• I’m glad we don’t have the “found footage” shaky-cam. The camera is just along for the ride.
• Also glad they didn’t go down the “Hostel” route. They tease it at one point and we never hear from it again.
Bad points :
• Not particularly tense
• Characters are the same-old, although I warmed to Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) most. They come across better/less annoying than your standard disposable teens.
• The mutants aren’t great. And that’s being kind. They tried the best they could to hide them.
• Jesse McCartney looks about 12. It’s like looking at John Connor from Terminator 2!
• The characters’ demeanour despite seeing some horrific moments seem very out of place. (Like seconds afterwards they’re ‘back to business’…)
• Mostly STARTLED!/shock-horror scares. Have a look, it’s quiet – BOO! Or there’s nothing….then BOO!
• Some plot devices feel quite cheesy.
Overall: The setting and pace were good, and the characters weren’t complete idiots. Despite the laundry list of problems, I quite enjoyed the film, although it got a bit hammy towards the end. I wouldn’t recommend though.