Dave's Rating:


Rooting for the radioactive wolves.

Not long ago I watched a cable special called Radioactive Wolves, about the wolf population around the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Fascinating but, apparently, the special was hiding a lot of other post-nuclear disaster facts from me, such as how marauding bears, man-eating monsterfish and, naturally, zombies are also hanging out there, biding their time, waiting for college kids to visit for dinner.

"Have you heard of extreme tourism?" says the most adventurous and Kirk Cameron-appearing of the young, bland-faced pack of relative newcomers, right before enlisting the help and sketchy van of Uri, a former military guy who now just happens to own Uri's Extreme Tourism. And off they go, into the woods, off the road, accepting the negligible clicks of their guide's Geiger counter as proof that they're experiencing little more than the effects of, oh say, 500 X-rays at once. Not dangerous at all.

Not that they should be worrying so much about that anyway, because they're all going to be eaten or mutilated soon enough, one by one, the way half-formed young people in these things always do.

And honestly, they deserve it, wandering through evacuated apartments, nosing around in the sad tragedy of thousands of people they'll never meet and then posing for grinning pictures in front of the reactors. If they were allowed to live through this their next stop would be the site of 9/11 wearing those helmets you drink cans of beer from.

It's typical stuff, the kind you see and forget after wondering why you bothered buying a ticket in the first place. It pushes nothing in the horror genre forward (it is, literally, a backward step for Oren Peli, the man behind Paranormal Activity), it just takes your extreme tourism cash and leaves you stuck in the van for 90 minutes. And you can gripe all you like about the Hostel movies, but at least those films conveyed the consequences of being American and poking around in a country that didn't ask for you to be there as metaphors for military interventionism and war crimes. That's usually the role of contemporary horror, to translate real-life ugliness into a figurative package. This one didn't have time for that sort of filtering device. So if you make time for it then you're just part of the stupiding-down process.


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