If nowhere near as scary as the original Paranormal, the result is superior to many of the low-budget terror flicks that have arrived since.
—Clark Collis Entertainment Weekly
This low-budget horror film set in the abandoned Chernobyl environs certainly provides a good explanation for its horrific mutant creatures.
—Frank Scheck Hollywood Reporter
A wearyingly predictable thriller...the pic may test the patience of even the least discriminating genre fans.
—Joe Leydon Variety
The scares are cheap, stock horror-movie conventional stuff. And none of the characters, with the exception of Sadowski's Paul, really register, so it's hard to become invested in their outcome.
—Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic
There are a few jolts, but no real surprises in this predictable thriller.
—Claudia Puig USA Today
Chernobyl Diaries is old wine in a new bottle. Not that you can't catch a buzz off old wine.
—Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post
There is a pitiful attempt to bring the nuclearness of things in on the action and a worse attempt to end it all. The plot twist has arthritis.
—Wesley Morris Boston Globe
Like [the Paranormal Activity franchise, it toys with viewers' expectations, but without the sense of play.
—Andy Webster New York Times
Unironic boilerplate horror, with a cast of young, attractive archetypes secluded in a remote location, being picked off in the dark one by one.
—Ian Buckwalter The Atlantic
Less than a half-hour in, you already don't care which, if any, of these one-dimensional characters survive the onslaught.
—Dana Stevens Slate