Let’s make a mistake.

Hey another found footage film.

We follow a group of people who are visiting Moscow (one of them is meeting their fiancé’s parents) and for some reason other people come along. None of them seem to be enjoying the trip (despite being surrounded by amazing architecture and stuff) so why they wanted to come is beyond me.

What do we even do with a movie like this? Five minutes in and there is no reason for any of the characters to be here. None of it makes any sense to me. The characters don’t like each other so why the fuck would you travel across the globe to spend time with each other.

I think found footage gets a bad rap because the characters are barely developed more than other horror films. I’d have to do some more research on that, but it sure seems like if you’re cutting corners on production, you’re going to cut corners on writing.

The premise of the film is that these four morons somehow accidentally get into the danger zone near the Chernobyl plan in Pripyat, which is 12 hours from Moscow. How? HOW!?!?!?!? Given current tensions I cannot imagine it is easy to go from Russia to Ukraine accidentally.

Anyway, we know why they did this. Chernobyl is popularized again (probably thanks to the excellent HBO series) so low-rent horror writers think they have a great idea for a horror film. The radiation has made some of the inhabitants monstrous, almost zombie-like, which is about as scientifically accurate as… well, thinking radiation is survivable.

What’s weird to me is that radiation is terrifying on its own. Why reduce the natural terror? I’ve taught apocalyptic literature and a lot of the time in the class students aren’t aware of just how monstrous radiation is. Films like this make the situations less scary by not understanding what they’re reworking for a cheap horror film.

The lead up to the scary parts is absurdly long. The payoff is not worth the investment as once things become tense we can’t see what is happening. Mixed in with characters you don’t care about, well, it is hard to invest.

Perhaps the worst aspect is that the characters seem interchangeable. I wasn’t entirely sure which of the guys I was looking at most of the time. Just awful writing here. The film is two halves, boring slog or annoying tropes. Not sure which is worst.

Come for the bad characters doing nothing! Stay for the shaky cam and predictable crap. Was that their marketing plan? The story means nothing.

Terrible film. Skip it.

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