Choose Your Own Adventure: “Chernobyl Diaries”

In honor of the latest shaky cam schlock I subjected myself to, I decided to switch up the review format for this one. Let me know what you think.



Scene: Three starry-eyed youngsters, a man, his girlfriend and a newly single girl, are taking a trip across Europe. You play the role of the man. You and your companions are travelling to meet your brother in Kiev. Do you:

A. Meet up with your brother for a few days before going your separate ways.
B. Decide to call him instead of visit and bypass Kiev altogether.
C. Wonder aloud how you can afford this trip.
D. Hang out with your brother and risk his ill nature clouding the judgment of your companions.
(You choose D.)

You find yourself in a cafe trying to cure a hangover from the previous night. You are perturbed at the fact that the waitress doesn’t speak English despite the fact that you’re in, you know, Kiev. Your brother enters the cafe late and attempts to convince you and your companions to go on an “extreme” visit to Chernobyl instead of your planned trip to Moscow. You remember that, just the night before, you had told your brother that you planned on proposing to your girlfriend in Moscow. Do you:

A. Agree to go along and propose to your girlfriend in Chernobyl. Nothing says romance like an abandoned nuclear disaster site.
B. Ask to speak to your brother alone and appeal to his good nature to get him to drop the idea.
C. Continue to sulk about the lack of English-speaking help.
D. Allow your brother to hold a vote, straight out of third grade, and leave the choice up to your easily manipulated companions.
(You choose D.)

Your brother introduces you to the tour guide, Yuri, a gregarious fellow of Eastern European origin. He tells you that this tour is “particularly popular” and is excited to take you. Two other people, a vacationing couple, show up to join the tour. This is your last chance to turn back. Do you:

A. Make one final appeal to your companions that visiting an abandoned nuclear site may not be as fun as they think.
B. Scold your brother for Shanghaiing your plans to propose to your girlfriend.

C. Begrudgingly go along with their plans.
D. Be overjoyed that Yuri speaks English.
(You choose B.)

Don’t you get it? He’s the prototypical horror movie jerk. He laughs at you.
(You choose both C. and D.)

You and your companions arrive in Pripyat, a town outside of Chernobyl. The town is locked down with military personnel and Yuri is unable to convince them to let you through as the area is closed for “maintenance.” Do you:

A. Take this as a sign that you should forego your trip.
B. Attempt to bribe the guards. Since you’re American, you think every foreign official is corrupt.
C. Allow Yuri to take you his “secret way.”
D. Propose to your girlfriend. Nothing is more romantic than being rejected at a military checkpoint.
(After carefully considering B., you choose C.)

You, your companions and Yuri travel a back road into Pripyat. You explore for a bit, eventually entering a house. Suddenly you hear a sound in another room and Yuri goes to investigate. Without warning, you see a shadow lumbering toward you! Is it:

A. A wolf.
B. A mutant.
C. A zombie.
D. A bear.
(The answer is D. Seriously. And this is never explained.)

You get back to the van and, wouldn’t ya know it, it won’t start. Yuri says it will be dark soon. Do you:

A. Start walking toward the guard checkpoint immediately so as to avoid the impending darkness.
B. Endeavor to fix the van before nightfall.
C. Propose to your girlfriend. Nothing is more romantic than being in a dark van filled with people you barely know.
D. Wait until dark before making your decision.
(Feeling a sense of dread, you carefully weigh C. So carefully, in fact, that you end up choosing D. by default)
Yuri, who apparently has hearing like a Doberman, hears a noise out in the darkness. He takes a gun out of the glove box and goes to investigate. Do you:

A. Be shocked at the fact that he has a gun, despite the fact that it makes perfect sense for someone in his profession.
B. Wait patiently in the van for him to return. The enormous Eastern European man can handle himself, after all.
C. Propose to your girlfriend. Nothing is more romantic than … ah, forget it.
D. Follow him irrationally into the darkness because … why not?
(After choosing A. you decide to go with D.) 

Ack! You get mauled offscreen by a pack of raging and radioactive dogs! Yuri disappears into the darkness as your brother drags you back to the van. After a “tense” night, your brother, the girl and the couple decide to look for help the following morning and leave you and your girlfriend in the van. Because your leg is mangled, you cannot follow. What do you do?

A. Defy conventions and follow them anyway.
B. Let your companions go and trust them to come back for you.
C. Propose to your girlfriend. Nothing says romance like being alone in a dark van surrounded by raging forest creatures.
D. Despair.
(You choose A.)

Seriously, man. Your leg is messed up.
(You choose C.)

Cute. But no.
(You choose D.)

Probably the best course of action, but still no.
(You begrudgingly choose B.)

The perspective now shifts to your brother, since you are trapped in a van. 

You, the girl you just met but still wanted to hit on, and the couple you just met but didn’t want to hit on stumble into the daylight to look for help. After a while, you come across a parking lot filled with cars. Do you:

A. Look for the missing part of your van in hopes of getting it running again.
B. Try to roll start the cars so you can drive back.
C. Make ill-time Ferris Bueller jokes.
D. Jump scare!
(You choose D.)

Ooh! Scary.
(You choose A.)

Eureka! You find exactly the component you need. You head back, filled with the hope that you can finally make up for all of your years of sub-par fraternity. But egad! You arrive to find the van flipped over and nary a sight of your brother or his girlfriend. Do you:

A. Wait by the van so they can find you if they happen to come back.
B. Run around willy-nilly and scream shrilly into the night.
C. Keep your head and conduct a calm search of the surrounding area.
D. Propose to the random girl. At this rate you may not have much longer to get married.
(You choose B.)

You enter a dark, decrepit building and look around. You eventually come across your brother’s girlfriend, who is hysterical. There is no sign of your brother anywhere. What do you do?

A. Accept the obvious and mourn your brother.
B. Comfort his girlfriend, since she is obviously shaken.
C. Calmly stomach the situation and seek a way out of Chernobyl before anyone else gets hurt.
D. Run around willy-nilly and scream shrilly into the night.
(You choose D.)

As the night drags on, you continually get attacked by increasingly inconsistent zombies. Every one of your companions dies until it is just you and the girl you barely know. The Geiger counter Yuri gave you starts to go off, signifying dangerous levels of radiation. Do you:

A. Turn back and try to find a less dangerous way.
B. Push on regardless of the consequences.
C. Check to see why the counter only goes off when it’s dramatically convenient.
D. Look for a safe place to fortify yourself and make your last stand.
(You know nothing about Geiger counters, so you choose B.)

Ouch, the radiation is really starting to hurt.
(Still B.)

Your face is literally starting to smoke.
(La la la, can’t hear you, la la la.)

Salvation! Even in your radiation-blinded state, you see the shapes of members of the Ukrainian military. You plead for them to help you, but they shout at you in a strange language. What do you do?

A. Since you speak Ukrainian, you understand that they are telling you not to come any closer and comply.
B. You push on regardless of what they’re saying because … that makes sense.
C. You propose to the girl you barely know. Nothing says romance like radiation blindness.
D. You speak back at them in Ukrainian and explain what happened to you.
(You choose B. They open fire. Since you are dead, the perspective switches to the girl.)

You find yourself being whisked away on a gurney through a hospital. The doctors, who speak English, tell you that they will take care of you, before switching back to speaking Ukrainian. What do you do?

A. Question why they are switching languages. What are they hiding?
B. Just go with it. Whatever they have in store for you, it’s better than zombies.
C. Wonder why they didn’t shoot you when they had no qualms about shooting that other guy.
D. Ask why, dear god why, this movie isn’t over yet.
(Since option D. would shatter the fourth wall, you pick option B.)

Oh no! They’ve thrown you into a darkened room that is filled with zombies.

Bonus question! What was the worst part about this movie?
A. The pacing.
B. The lack of character development.
C. How horribly clichéd it was.
D. The overly xenophobic tone of the characters.
E. The fact that it cost almost $20 to see it.
F. The fact that it was still probably better than half of the other movies that are out right now.
G. All of the above.
(I answer G. A thousand times G.)


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