Monday, June 4, 2012

Everybody's jumpin' and shakin'!!


Usually, when I go to see a movie in theatre, I research just enough to get the idea of what I'm getting myself into.  With Chernobyl Diaries though, I went in pretty ignorant of what was gonna be involved.  I expected another "found footage" flick involving ghosts, probably because I knew that people behind Paranormal Activities were involved.  When I realized that mutants were the main antagonists, and that this wasn't really a found footage style, I was somewhat disappointed, but I decided to stick with it and give the movie a chance to redeem itself. 

So basically, the story is that a group of friends decide (after some reluctance on one friend's part) to take an "extreme tour" of Chernobyl before departing for Moscow.  Sounds pleasant enough right?  I mean, I personally would like to do something like that someday.  In this situation though, they are turned away by military who has the area locked down.  but that doesn't stop our plucky tour guide, who decides to make sure the group gets their money's worth and takes another lesser known path to the destination.  Now, if I was in this van and got stopped by two serious looking guys with large guns, I don't think I would risk getting in further trouble by going around them.  But I guess that just means I'm not extreme enough for the tour.  Anyway, they make it there, get their tour over with (including surprise jump scare thrown in for good measure).  But oh no!!!  The van has been sabotaged somehow, and they're stuck there.  Hijinks ensue from there.

To start my opinions on a good note, I enjoyed the characters in this flick.  They're not the standard annoying jerkoff/airhead/doped up protagonists you tend to see nowadays.  They actually seemed like good people whom you actually grow to like and want to see escape.  It's so rare to watch a horror or slasher flick these days where you don't give a damn about the main characters because they're so annoying and mean.  In my opinion, if you're watching a horror flick and you find yourself rooting for the guy/monster that's going around killing everyone, then it's not a true horror movie.  Whoops, there goes my rant mode again.  Back to the topic at hand.  These characters, while making some dumb decisions later on, were still good protagonists in my eyes. 

And what about the antagonists?  Well, I don't have too much to say about them, mostly because I BARELY GOT TO SEE THEM!!!  For this movie not being found footage, there was an ungodly amount of shaky-cam whenever the mutants attacked.  So much so that it was damn near impossible to get a good look at them.  I mean, come on!!  I've already ranted before on this blog about my hatred of shaky-cam, but every time I see it I want to rant and rave all over again.  I'm trying with every fibre to not do it now.  I'll sum up my rage with this uppercase repeating: SHAKY-CAM USE IS NOT A GOOD THING!!!!!  If you really want to see what these mutants look like, you need to look up still shots online, or if you get it on bluray or dvd, pause it when they appear.  Either way, I haven't, so I have nothing to say about the makeup effects.

Another mini-rant I have is with jump scares.  This movie was just rotten with jump scares, and when it was done I decided a better name for this movie would be Chernobyl Jump Scares, because that's what it mostly consisted of.  This may be showing my age, but I remember when horror movies used atmosphere and suspense to grab you and keep you scared.  Nowadays with this A.D.D ridden audience there has to be something going on at all times, and jump scares aplenty.  And it wouldn't be as much of a problem if so damn many of them weren't predictable, but most of them are and it sucks. 

Finally, the fact that this movie had Diaries in the title doesn't even make sense.  There is no diary anything in this movie, so it seems an odd title choice. 

So, reading through my rants in this review, you probably think I wouldn't recommend watching it.  But I say to you, that that isn't necessarily true.  My issue is that I paid $10 to see it, and it was too high a price.  I don't recommend buying a ticket to watch it, but if you can rent it for cheap or a friend happens to rent it and you can watch it for free, I suggest you go that route.  This isn't actually such a bad movie, but all I saw when I watched it was wasted potential, and TOO MUCH SHAKING!!  Ahem, sorry.  The saving graces of Chernobyl Diaries were the characters, and the scenery (which I didn't really talk about in this review but it had a pretty creepy look about it).   Anyway, that's all for now.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

This has been a K. K. Bucklesworth production

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