This is a movie that had been viewed weeks ago, but I just haven't had the strength to review it.
Told in a way that wants to be "found footage-like" but instead comes off as a low budget affair, we find ourselves with a bunch of American tourists (Chris, Natalie and Amanda) who are visiting Europe and Chris' brother, Paul. The three are on their way to Moscow where Chris plans to propose to Natalie. Paul, being the adventurous local he is, takes them to Yuri: a Ukranian local who specializes in extreme tourism. Paul has set up with Yuri a tour of the Chernobyl Power Plant and its local community. Before they leave, they are joined by backpacking couple: Michael and Zoe.
Once there, the group is in awe at the desolate area and take pictures. Yuri announces that they need to leave by dark. Yuri's van has been damaged, leaving the entire group stuck in the (supposedly) abandoned Chernobyl town. One by one, each character is attacked by... something. What is said something? Pretty dumb, is what it is.
I mentioned that this review has been sitting on the shelf for a while and that is because this movie couldn't move me to create a full review for it. We have our obvious group of victims... I mean characters and a vague semblance of "something" going on, but like a lot of this movie, it is very muddled.
What was good, if anything, you may ask? Personally, I thought the character of Yuri was pretty entertaining. Yuri is a former special forces mercenary who knows more than he leads on. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for him) his screen time is limited and we don't really know what he is hiding. Overall, he seems like a good guy, yet if he knows what is revealed in the film, why would he return?
Also, much has been made about the location shoot for this film. It appears that at least portions of this film were shot on location in and around the Chernobyl Power Plant. This provides a great mood and a real sense of being there. Unfortunately, after a while, all we see are grey walls and gates and that gets tiresome to look at. I would recommend skimming through this film just to see some of the locations that are offered in this film.
The bad outweighs the good by a hefty margin. I'm not going to list through all the problems as I don't have the time or the energy, but there are a few issues I want to address. The first belongs to the shooting style of the film. The film is shot as handheld and very shaky, yet none of the characters are using a camera. I don't understand the reason for shooting the film where it is supposed to feel like a "found footage" film, yet no one is filming.
Also, the ending to the film was so muddled that I had no idea what was happening. The film devolves into a standard chase film before we enter an ending where it feels like the filmmakers did not know how to end the film. We are not really given an explanation for what has happened and then the film ends on a lame twist followed by the credits. I did not even bother with the alternate ending on the DVD, but to me it feels like that the filmmakers never knew how to end the film and just decided to end it and wash their hands of this mess.
This movie belongs in the lesser quality of "found footage" films. A good location is the only thing this film offers, and that is not enough to just see it.