Running Time: 86 minutes
Starring: Olivia Dudley, Devin Kelley, Jonathon Sadowski, Jesse McCartney
Directed By: Bradley Parker
Rating: 3.5 out of 10
OutlineA small group of tourists head out to Chernobyl for sightseeing when they are attacked by something in a town that is supposed to be abandoned.
The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in the Ukraine was one of the world’s worst manmade disasters. I know very little about it except no one would ever visit it or anywhere close to it for vacation purposes. Of course Chernobyl is where we find ourselves in this film. More specifically the abandoned town of Pripyat which housed the workers and their families that worked at Chernobyl. A small group of people accompanied by a guide travel to the town for sightseeing purposes. They soon discover that the town is not as abandoned as it seems. I am not going to delve into how ridiculous the setting is for the movie because it is an absurd place to end up in. However the bleakness of the landscape accompanied by the empty buildings and complexes does have a great feel for murder and mayhem.
The film has the right start with a quick introduction to the players involved. It is filmed predominantly in a quasi lost footage style which I thoroughly enjoyed. The film shot mostly on a handheld camera adds a sense of realism lacking in a lot of horror these days. While I usually laud lesser known actors for horror this group of actors was a mess. The character Paul played by Jonathon Sadowski was average until things started happening and then his acting degenerated into him running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Paul’s brother Chris played by Jesse McCartney was a blazing light of bad acting and his delivery was more cringe worthy than most of the horror scenes in this film. Everyone else had forgettable performances and while horror doesn’t need strong acting it should be at least passable. This film had way below average acting.
Bad acting doesn’t have to ruin horror movies if the suspense or gore is well done. Alas this film rarely delivered on either count. The film is the typical slow build up of things half seen and strange interactions. The film is basically a buildup of all of the seen before plot developments in horror. Let’s head out to a place giving off radiation, which is miles from help, in a dilapidated van, with a sketchy driver, and I am sure things will turn out for the best. The film is asking way too much from its viewer while giving little in return. Easily the most frustrating thing of the film though is the things left unseen. While the camera work does add realism the shakiness aspect killed off a lot of the hectic violent scenes. The scary scenes during the day were comical and the things that happened at night were never properly shown to the viewer to be appreciated. This film was screaming for torn appendages and big payoff kills but it never panned out. Without the proper visuals this film could never have worked.
Director Bradley Parker’s debut film was riddled with amateurish problems and execution. I am not sure if he had enough money to pull off this film but whatever the case he failed. The things in the dark stayed in the dark. Not glimpsing the lurking killers properly will be very frustrating to most viewers. When the group had a reprieve from the frights the dialogue was tedious and rushed. The characters also made typical poor choice decisions no one would make. And finally the ending was as odd as the location for this film. He did capture a couple of decent scenes by using great sound techniques but that was about it. More scenes of hearing things being chewed in the dark or pots being rattled could have made this film more viable. Parker needs to study a little bit more about the genre before he does another horror film.
I cannot recommend this film as it was a tired seen before attempt at horror. And while it was a great backdrop for bloodshed it was bloodshed you ultimately did not get to see.
T Factor + If you don’t need great dialogue in your films this could score higher on the rating scale.
T factor – If you like your horror with bloody kills this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Quarantine, REC