Do not expect a true visit, even extreme, of Chernobyl. The film was shot in Serbia and in Hungary. There are so many dead cities in the world and anyway most scenes were shot either in some "incognito" landscape that could be anywhere and in ruined mostly underground places, constructions, tunnels and other structures that probably were made of cardboard or plywood.
It is a horror movie using a real historic drama, the explosion of Chernobyl's nuclear plant, as a setting both in time and place. All the rest is fantasy, subnormal fantasy actually. Could there be any survivor to the catastrophe? Apart from a few insects like cockroaches that are immune to radiations, immune though not entirely indifferent, since radiations may cause some mutations from one generation to the next and since insects are naturally short- lived they may have five or six generations per year, good morning mutations then, apart from some insects then, other animal species that are rather a lot longer- lived, survival and even mutations are more than problematic. Nuclear explosions of that type leads to massive death. The survivors were irradiated and then developed serious diseases like cancer, leukemia and some other ailments that are deadly, more or less fast.
So the main idea of the film that humans and other mammal species actually did survive is hardly believable and what's more nature cannot keep more individuals than the surrounding resources can permit. It is thus highly improbable that great numbers of mutated humans could survive in such conditions and they would have to adapt to radiations and irradiated plants and animals. Yet nature can always survive any catastrophe with time. It is highly possible that vegetal life will be the first one to mutate and take the territory over. Then water animals, fish and other species living in water would adapt or mutate rather fast and thus survive like insects. It is a lot more problematic for mammals. So the only objective of the film is to frighten the gall out of you. It succeeds or it does not according to your sensitiveness: not everyone reacts the same way to such simple frightening visions.
But the film is interesting to show some human characteristics not in Chernobyl but in everyday life, characteristics that are exploited in this film for commercial reasons.
First it shows very well that in any situation, even the worst and most desperate, there will be a Yuri or a Smith or a Dupont who will take advantage of it and try to make money from it. It will be all the easier since there is an audience for any extreme endeavor or adventure, in fact for extreme anything. Then the second remark is that since an audience does exist and has always existed such morbid and mortiferous subjects, provided they have a horror oriented side, and it is the case here, will be highly welcome in the B-movie industry: low cost and good profit.
What are people afraid of? The answer is simple. Abnormal and aggressive beings, be they living dead or zombies or monstrous animals in size or in voraciousness. People are afraid of bears, wolves, wild dogs (dingoes in Australia) and of course the whole wild feline family. The film exploits wild dogs, wolves and bears. Perfect, plus some monstrous mutated and mutating river animals, mostly fish. And of course some human mutated and mutating survivors, hence living zombies.
The third element is about how such a territory can be protected. In fact, it can't really since animals will migrate anyway just like radiations, fish down rivers, wild mammals in forests and even living zombies will try to get out. So the army will have to be there all around, but you cannot really close a vast territory, twenty kilometers in radius, more than one thousand two hundred and fifty square kilometers. The film goes slightly beyond and they pretend that some of the human survivors are kept in some reserve and fed with extreme tourists the soldiers recuperate on the site. That is not supposed to surprise anyone since we are in Ukraine and at most they have been well trained in inhumanity by the Russians know up to 1990 as the Soviets.
The anti-Soviet, anti-Russian and anti-Ukrainian aspect is not supposed to be a surprise to us since the West lives on a strong bias against anything Russian, and at times anything Slavic or Slavonic. Only the Catholic or Protestant Slavs can be excused, hence the Poles. And maybe the Slovaks and the Czechs. All the others are not even decent enough to have a standard Christian religion and they live on some Ukrainian, Russian, and Bulgarian Orthodox religion whose may patriarch is in Moscow. This anti- Russian and anti-Slavic bias is very short- sighted, but it is what is going to bring Trump down, with real news as much as fake news, since with him what's true is fake and what's fake is true. Enjoy the nice very tame horror true story: it was in fact a lot worse in reality than what is shown.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU