When I first heard about the premise of Chernobyl Diaries I was like Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street: "F*ck science!" Honestly extreme tourism? People pay for a trip to Pripyat — an abandoned city near the site of one of the worst nuclear disaster in history — for some vacation photos? Well it is possible and people actually do it despite the lingering radiation and other serious dangers but hopefully none of them are as painfully dumb as the characters in Diaries.
Jesse McCartney is Chris the sensible little brother who really would have preferred to stick with the plan: a day trip to Moscow where he'd pop the question to his girlfriend Natalie (Olivia Dudley). His older brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) is a bit of a bad boy horndog with a taste for adventure who insistst they and their recently dumped friend Amanda (Devin Kelly) go on an exciting trip to Pripyat instead. Amanda is also a photographer of sorts because she has a fancy camera and is taking photos of everything. Other than that we know almost nothing about any of the characters (although Paul does note that "the chicks are f*cking amazing"). They are later joined by Michael (Nathan Phillips) and Zoe (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) who prove to be equally forgettable.
Paul knows how to party so he leads Chris Natalie and Amanda to a sketchy office to set up their trip to Pripyat. The tour guide is named what else Yuri (Dimitri Diatchenko) and he even has a dingy sign on the wall that reads "Yuri's Extreme Travel" and lots of photos of him in military garb. He's built like a brick house — but he's no match for the ridiculousness that awaits them.
The build-up to what they do find is interminable especially given what non-horrors await. At one point I was hoping it would turn out to be something similar to The Happening but no such luck. Just a bunch of bald zombie-types lurking in the mist and gnawing on human flesh! Although there's something to be said for leaving scary stuff lurking in the shadows it's also a good idea to establish enough tension beforehand so that we actually care about what is supposed to be scaring us.
According to writer/producer Oren Peli a good deal of the dialogue was improvised which is a bit of a relief as the actors drop gems like "What exactly happened in Chernobyl?" and "Nature has reclaimed its rightful home " as well as tidbits like "Stop being a p*ssy" and "Maybe there's a gun in here!" This is director Bradley Parker's first feature and although he does occasionally have trouble keeping the camera steady he doesn't rely on shaky-cam "found footage " for the most part.
Naturally some people are offended that filmmakers would use a human tragedy as the backdrop of a horror movie but plenty of movies use tragic events for fodder. They should be more offended that it's just so boring.
The public relations mogul was shot multiple times while driving her Mercedes-Benz car through Beverly Hills on her way home from the premiere of Cher and Christina Aguilera's new film Burlesque.
Her death has shocked the showbiz world, and many stars have been quick to pay tribute to Chasen, including her screenwriter/director brother Cohen.
He says, "She was my sister and best friend and we shared so many wonderful times together. Ronni was a loving and caring person who treated her clients like they were her own family."
Producers Lili and Richard Zanuck worked with Chasen on the Oscars campaign for Driving Miss Daisy - which went on to win the 1989 Best Picture honour - and were devastated to learn of her death.
A statement from Richard reads, "Lili and I are shattered by the unthinkably sad news about Ronni. She has been a loving and dear friend for so many years. To think of not being able to get her on the other line of the phone is unimaginable. She was the best publicist in the business in our opinion whose tireless and determined energy combined with her love of movies made her one of a very special breed."
Film composer Hans Zimmer, who was also a client of Chasen, adds, "I'm profoundly sad, devastated, mad, incredulous and lonely. She was radiant. She knew everybody in the room. She took Chris Nolan over to the next table and introduced him to George Lucas. I was watching her (and) standing there listening to them and I thought, 'There's my friend Ronni, introducing two great directors to each other. She's on top of her game.'"
Police have launched an investigation into Chasen's death.