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Chernobyl Diaries | 2012 | R | - 2.7.10

Six thrill seekers hire an Extreme Tour guide (Dimitri Diatchenko) to take them through the rubble left by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. The reactor released over 40 times the radiation as the Hiroshima bomb and is off limits, but the guide takes them into an abandoned workers' village where they discover something sinister. Also with Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Olivia Dudley, Devin Kelley, Jesse McCartney, Nathan Phillips, and Jonathan Sadowski. Directed by Brad Parker. [1:30]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - Two couples kiss briefly three times. Riding in a van, a woman repeatedly places her hand on her boyfriend's middle thigh, although he does not seem to notice.
 Throughout the film a woman wears a deep V-necked top that exposes cleavage and her chest jiggles as she walks. Three women wear skin-tight jeans or opaque tights.
 A man tells another man that he will propose to his girlfriend.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - The film is set largely at night in an abandoned and heavily shadowed village; interior scenes are dark, lit only with flickering flashlights and there is no electricity. Many dark scenes within abandoned buildings beside a nuclear reactor include off screen noises of babies crying, wolves snarling, dogs barking, metal pounding metal, sounds of buzzing electricity, doors creaking and slamming, heavy objects falling and footsteps as they drag and scrape over littered floors. Tension of the unknown in a dangerously irradiated nuclear area grows throughout the movie; the voices of the men and women quake and they are frequently startled. We see a dozen signs warning people to stay away from an area because of high radiation; a Geiger counter beeps loudly in several places.
 We see the torn torso and the legs of a man inside an empty building; his abdomen is torn open with intestines and blood visible. A man takes a handgun into an open area and another man follows him; we hear three shots and in minutes one of the men runs to a van, pounds on it and screams that something got the other man, he is let in and lies on the back seat screaming (we see that his leg is torn and we see tendons, torn muscles and blood on the leg, the seat and people's hands). We see a guard that's dead and hanging upside down from the ceiling of a building with blood on his face and streaming down one arm.
 A man and a woman stumble into a nuclear reactor building and their Geiger counter ticks loudly; the man becomes blind, they stumble from the building, soldiers shoot the man dead (we see a large circle of blood on his chest) and the woman lies down, crying. Five people walk across a narrow bridge over water, two of them fall into the putrid green water and swim out of it; one man emerges with a bite on his leg and he shouts in pain (we see blood trickle down his shin to his shoe, but he can walk without difficulty). The body of a woman with blood and debris on her cheek is found outside a laboratory with hospital equipment in it.
 Wild dogs are shown eating a large dead animal in the middle of a road and then chase four men and women while barking loudly; the four people escape into a building (we see blood and a dead wolfhound-like dog lying on a stoop at the top of a flight of stairs). A large bear runs through an abandoned building, causing three men and three women to scream; they continue to hear noises of creaking doors and pounding metal as they run out of the building and into a van where the driver finds the spark plug wires chewed in half. A large animal slams against the windows of a van full of people at night and we see large pointed teeth and glowing eyes. We see part of a guard's sleeve cut off and stuck to a broken bus windshield with blood on the glass.
 A woman is found crying and screaming and she is dragged off screen by six huge dirty hands coming through a broken door and pulling her and the door away as she continues to scream. A man, eyes closed and unmoving, is dragged by the feet off screen and up a concrete stairway by an unknown assailant. A man steps inside an abandoned bus and something flies out past him; we do not see what it is. Inside a room in a building, we see a stagnant pond with something shadowy swimming and snapping its mouth at the surface of the green water. A man and a woman are left inside a van alone, and the van is found later overturned and smashed, with blood all over the seats and windows; they find a video with blurry images, snarling sounds and screams. A tour guide puts his hand into stagnant water and jumps to scare his tourist group; he laughs and shows them a large dead fish that has huge teeth on the edge of the river. A woman is locked in a dark cell and she screams while eight bald headed beings with large vacant eyes surround her, with many hands reaching for her throat, and the small viewing window's door slams shut. We see the shadow of a man in a doorway and the ghost of a little girl on a walkway outside, with her back is turned toward the audience.
 Two figures appear at the open end of a dead-end passageway at night where a man and a woman stand (they have bald, plastic-looking heads and dark jumpsuits); the woman pick up a knife, slashes and presumably kills both figures, but we see no blood. A woman reaches for a handgun under a table and is chased by a man (we see only his shoes), and she locks herself inside a storeroom with two men while the man outside slams against the door; one man shoots a handgun three times through the door, but apparently hits nothing. Two armed guards hold assault rifles as one looks into the windows of a tourist van and denies the van entrance into an abandoned town. An abandoned bus is shown riddled with bullet holes. Three people break out of the building through glass doors through which they throw an office chair and a crowbar.
 A woman is shown with severe radiation burns on her face (black and red) while she rides in an ambulance and the EMTs tell her that she will be in a hospital. We see three women each shake with fear, wretch and vomit on a floor and in a dark hallway (we do not see the vomit).
 Several scenes feature arguments among six people about how to escape an off-limits area where their van broke down. Two brothers argue with their girlfriends about visiting off-limits sites in Chernobyl and nearby. We hear that 50,000 people were evacuated from Pripyat near Chernobyl with 5-minutes notice and when looters came in, ransacked the buildings and sold items on the black market, the buyers all got sick. We hear that a woman's friends were found dead near Chernobyl.


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LANGUAGE 10 - About 63 F-words, 1 obscene hand gesture, 19 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (moron, mean, sick, ridiculous), stereotypical references to Ukraine, Ukrainian military, Ukrainian thugs, Russian scientists, nuclear mutants, men, brothers, women, monsters, ghosts, 5 religious profanities, 2 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Two men and two women walk out of a bar and the women stumble and slur their words (implying that they are drunk), two men drink beer from bottles, and three men invite two women and two men into a bar (they do not accept).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Chernobyl disaster, USSR, Cold War programs, secrecy, fear, danger, risk-taking, ghosts, monsters, superstitions.

MESSAGE - Stay out of prohibited areas while on vacation.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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