The first Chernobyl nuclear reactor was commissioned 35 years ago in the then-Soviet Union. The nearby city of Prypiat, Ukraine was developed to house the workers of the nuclear facility and their families. On 26 April 1986, disaster struck at the nuclear plant, which by then had four functioning nuclear reactors and two more in the works. A series of explosions and fire sent a plume of highly radioactive smoke fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including the city of Pripyat.
Fast forward to the year 2012. Six tourists heads to Uri's (Dimitri Diatchenko) extreme tour agency in Ukraine looking for something out of the ordinary and as we can anticipate, they receive more than they have asked for. Brothers Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) and Chris (Jesse McCartney), Chris' girlfriend Natalie (Olivia Dudley) and Amanda (Devin Kelley), together with two other tourists, travel to the abandoned city of Pripyat.
The location is a clear winner, where a calm-looking stream hides the scars of the radioactive fallout beneath it. A rusted Ferries wheel and derelict buildings leave viewers with a warped sense of nostalgia. Open spaces between man-made structures are deceptively claustrophobic and create an eerie sense of calmness. Grotesque scenes are kept to a minimum and reserved for the finale as the scares come mainly from facing the unknown as the camera tracks the movement of the characters.
Although the concept of linking a nuclear disaster to the horror genre is not new, the blurring of reality and fiction is one that never goes stale. Up next, Fukushima? Maybe in 35 years time...