You couldn't get a better setting for the promise of a horror movie than the ghost town of Prypiat, located near the doomed Chernobyl reactor.
I have a connection with Chernobyl myself as I was living in the UK when the reactor exploded. Almost ten years later to the day I was diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of Thyroid Cancer which I blame on the radiation cloud that blanketed Southern England. Whether Chernobyl is to blame for my cancer will never be proven, but I did however survive (so far). Many of those living in Chernobyl's shadow did not, and those that did have been subjected to the effects of prolonged exposure to the radiation, with the added horror of children born with rare mutations.
Enter one 'Extreme Tour' guide, a Russian by the name of Yuri (of course!), and six young victims (for we know that that is what they are going to be). For a fee Yuri can get you into Prypiat by legal means, or by his own methods, whichever is required. The tourists may take as many photos as they like but no souvenirs due to the radioactive contamination. Our tourists are assured that their health is not at risk as they won't be staying that long (famous last words!)
After a morning looking around abandoned homes and buildings, a close encounter with a mutant fish and other local wildlife, it is time to call it a day once the sun begins to go down. It seems the tour has gone fairly smoothly until they arrive back at their van where it becomes apparent that it has been tampered with. Now the group are faced with spending a cold night, with continued exposure to the radiation, in the van. Even worse, there is something prowling in the twilight, and it's not very friendly............
I did actually enjoy the first half of this movie. The set looked very authentic (filmed in Hungary and Serbia I believe) and as my suspicions grew about Yuri (played by Dimitri Diatchenko) I felt my anxiety levels rising as to what he had in store for these youngsters. I was wrong about him however.
What I wanted from this movie were grotesque mutant beings but I didn't get them. At one point the tourists come across what appears to be a young girl standing in the deserted road. When they tried to entice her to turn around my heart skipped a few beats, I wanted a 'Don't Look Now' moment:
or a 'Walking Dead' moment:
But nothing happened at all! I felt let down by the whole experience and then I felt guilty about even watching this movie because it just reeked of insensitivity to those who have lived through that terrible disaster.
(The Mutant Fish)
The direction was ok, the acting was ok (Yuri was the stand out), but there were not enough scares or shocks for this horror buff so overall I found this to be an average horror experience.