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'Chernobyl Diaries' Horror Film Angers Victim Support Group

The abandoned fun fair in Pripyat, the setting of the film
The abandoned fun fair in Pripyat, the setting of the film
Horror fans are in for a treat with the release this week of "Chernobyl Diaries."

Faithful to the genre, six young American tourists go on an extreme tour to the Chornobyl fallout zone and the emptied-out city of Pripyat, with its sprawling concrete housing projects and abandoned schools and hospitals. The perky adventure-seekers get stranded and trouble ensues at the hands of radiation-mutated predators.

Fans of exploitation cinema might be happy, but support groups for victims of the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster are not.

Robert Schuettpelz, the director of Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S., a nonprofit that provides financial support to five community centers in Ukraine situated within or near contaminated areas, says the film is upsetting.

"I've been working with Chornobyl survivors for the past eight years and after what I've seen and after I've got to know them, seeing this movie and the trailers, and the information about it, it's kind of upsetting to see that they decided to make this movie and make light of the real situation in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia," Schuettpelz says.

"People are still living with the after-effects of this every day -- even 26 years after."

A Facebook group, Boycotting Chernobyl Diaries, has been set up, but currently only has 42 likes.

The film, from the creator of "Paranormal Activity," is Bradley Parker's directorial debut. To give you an idea of what's in store, the film's screenwriters are responsible for direct-to-DVD classics such as "Transmorphers: Fall of Man," "Titantic II" (who knew?), and "Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid."


While the film was shot in Serbia and Hungary, by the looks of the trailer the filmmakers have obviously based the visuals on the moving photos from Pripyat, the city which housed many of the workers at the Chornobyl plant, which show abandoned dolls, disused bumper cars, and a stationary Ferris wheel, its carriages still eerily intact.

It's not the first film to be made about Chornobyl. "Universal Soldier: Regeneration" was set there, with Jean-Claude Van Damme preventing terrorists from blowing up the crippled reactor.

PHOTO GALLERY: Pripyat -- A Ghost Town In The Chornobyl Fallout Zone

More impressively, "Land Of Oblivion," a feature film by French-Israeli director Michale Boganim, was shot entirely within the 30-kilometer exclusion zone.

According to the director the film, which tells the story of a couple who marry on the day of the disaster, angered the Ukrainian authorities as it didn't show the official response in a favorable light.

Looking at the #ChernobylDiaries hashtag on Twitter, at the moment excited horror fans are vastly outnumbering the film's detractors.

The film will be released across the former Soviet Union, including in Ukraine, on May 25.

-- Luke Allnutt/Richard Solash

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