Chernobyl is a new HBO miniseries about the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. This miniseries event is very direct and realistic which makes it as scary as it is brilliant. Read more in our review here!

Chernobyl is a new miniseries event on HBO. As the title indicates, it’s about the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986. The miniseries is a drama thriller, but when you get to see just how bad it all was, it gets damn scary as well.

This is nothing like those horror movies that have been made over the years – such as Chernobyl Diaries from 2012. Instead, we get a blow-by-blow look at how things ended up so disastrously. 

While Chernobyl is based on a real event, some of the characters have been created for this HBO miniseries. However, any fictional characters are still based on real people.

Chernobyl is an impressive production true to the standard you’d expect from HBO. We’ve watched the first 3 episodes of the 5-episode miniseries for this review.

A stellar cast leads Chernobyl

The cast of Chernobyl is made up of primarily European actors. This is probably for the best for several reasons. For one, this happened right next to Europe. Two, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union was in a really bad place in 1986.

Everyone was expecting nuclear war to erupt at any moment. Subsequently, the first thing everyone asks in Chernobyl is “Was it the Americans?” But no, it was a terrible accident that far too many people attempted to cover up rather than secure the safety of their citizens.

Jared Harris has the lead character of the real-life scientist, Boris Shcherbina, who fought to contain the disaster. And also, to get the truth out. We recently saw Jared Harris in season 1 of The Terror where he was equally brilliant. I was never very fond of him in the past, but these two series have changed that.

Also, we have Stellan Skarsgård (yes, that’s Pennywise’s dad) as the top politician, Boris Shcherbina. At first, he’s not crazy about accepting the fact that disaster has struck. He does come around rather quickly and goes to Chernobyl to help.

The fierce women of Chernobyl

Emma Watson plays nuclear physicist, Ulana Khomyuk, from Belarus. She heads to Moscow as soon as radiation readings are made and she suspects something terrible has happened. Especially since she can’t reach the Chernobyl power plant which is 400 kilometer from her office. 

Ulana Khomyuk (Emma Watson) is a fictional character, but she is based on numerous scientists. All of which worked both on containing the disaster and subsequently getting the truth out. 

Also, we have Jessie Buckley (Taboo) as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of a first responder firefighter. Yes, firefighters were sent to put out the fire at Chernobyl. They were told it was merely a roof fire and that there was no danger. 

Lyudmilla Ignatenko is a real-life person and even wrote a book about her experience to get the truth out. 

Chernobyl HBO miniseries Review

Facts rather than feelings

We are getting a lot of facts with Chernobyl to help us understand how it all happened. There are no fingers pointed and blame to be placed. Or rather, of course, there is, but only where it is due. Far too many ignored the facts for far too long, but this was expected in order to maintain the image of the Soviet Union.

As a whole, the story in Chernobyl focuses on how things got so out of hand. Accidents can and do happen. But how we react in these situations are what we talk about afterward. With the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, it was obvious that those in charge did not react fast enough.

We also get to witness those who became heroes. The ones who went in to contain the situation even though they knew a heavy price would be paid. Workers, who were told that millions would die if they did not. And so, they did. The same goes for the scientists who were at Chernobyl despite knowing better than anyone, how this would affect them later.

Watch the Chernobyl miniseries on HBO

Since Chernobyl is an HBO miniseries event, you will get one episode at a time. Maybe it’s for the best. What you see and learn in this miniseries are some tough and brutal details.

This 5-episode miniseries is directed by Swedish director, Johan Renck. He previously directed episodes on the Netflix series Bloodline and the horror TV series Bates Motel and The Walking Dead. And yet, this is probably the scariest thing he has ever made.

The script was written by Craig Mazin who has primarily worked with comedy in the past. We’re talking The Hangover sequels and a few Scary Movie installments. However, he also wrote on The Huntsman: Winter’s War and the upcoming Charlie’s Angels so he can clearly write for all genres.

Having watched the first three episodes of Chernobyl, it’s obvious that Craig Mazin can also handle the really heavy and serious stuff. Do not miss out on this HBO miniseries!

The Chernobyl miniseries premieres on HBO May 6, 2019.

Details

Director: Johan Renck 
Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Jared Harris, Fares Fares, Alexej Manvelov, David Dencik.

Plot

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the 1986 accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and the sacrifices made to save Europe from the unimaginable disaster.

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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Review Date
Reviewed Item
Chernobyl (2019) [HBO miniseries]
Rating
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