Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jason watches CHERNOBYL DIARIES at the Cinedome Newark

A few years back, Oren Peli made a big splash on the horror scene with his minimal-budget PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I was one of the few audiences that got to see his original version (different ending) in its shortened festival run, and I loved it. But that's another story, now Peli's back and missing on all cylinders in his new effort.

I thought PARANORMAL ACTIVITY worked mostly because it built up the tension slowly, starting with the assumption there was nothing there and going a good 30 minutes before the first "scare" (a door moving slightly even though the windows were closed so no wind. Oh yeah, in the original version nothing happened the first night, including keys getting moved.) It turns out, as evidenced by CHERNOBYL DIARIES, you also have to care about the characters (even if, in the case of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, "caring" means you hate one character from the start.) When a bunch of kids go on an "extreme tourism" trip to the town just outside the defunct Chernobyl reactor, I just don't care. And now, the half hour before the first slightly scary thing happens is just tedious as hell. And when the monsters (mutated fish, wolves, bears, and ultimately humans) show up, I still don't care.

I wanted to like this, but I just didn't (part 2 of 3.)

Running Time: 86 minutes
My Total Minutes: 288,489

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