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Review: Chernobyl Diaries

Tried and true formula
By JAKE MULLIGAN  |  May 29, 2012
1.5 1.5 Stars

More akin to a meander through a haunted house than a fulfilling feature film, the latest work from Paranormal Activity auteur Oren Peli (he produces, Bradley Parker directs) relies on his tried-and-true formula of favoring atmospheric terror over visceral scares. Treating the Chernobyl disaster with the same gravitas as a ghost story, he follows archetypal protagonists — the committed couple, the confident lothario, the innocent ingénue, etc. — as they make their way through the titular city, avoiding fallout-inflicted ghouls we never actually see. The claustrophobia of the visual style, which cycles pointlessly through found footage, unbroken master shots, and classically composed sequences, leads to some spooky scares. But the film's bark is worse than its bite, and its constant teases wear thin, even over a 90-minute runtime. "It's a metaphor," one of them utters as he poses for a photo in front of a decrepit reactor. I don't buy it.

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  Topics: Reviews , Boston, spooky, scary,  More more >
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