The once thriving community was home to the plant's workers and their families, and was evacuated overnight as part of the 30km radioactive exclusion zone.
Houses, factories, shops and schools remain uninhabited to this day - a ghostly relic of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
Screenwriter Oren Peli, creator of the original Paranormal Activity, draws inspiration from Pripyat's demise for this thriller about a group of 20-something tourists who regret their decision to venture off the beaten track.
Chris, his girlfriend Natalie and their photographer friend Amanda travel around Europe, heading for Kiev where they plan to meet up with Chris's older brother Paul before heading to Moscow.
Paul derails the carefully laid plans by suggesting a detour to Pripyat in the company of enigmatic tour guide Uri.
Despite Chris's protestations, the four friends cram into the back of Uri's old military van along with Australian backpacker Michael and his Norwegian girlfriend Zoe.
Armed soldiers at a checkpoint initially turn the tourists away because the town is closed for maintenance so Uri takes an unguarded backwoods route instead.
Natalie gets cold feet and her worst fears are realised when the 20-somethings return from their guided tour and discover someone, or something, has sabotaged the van.
Dialogue is largely improvised, which accounts for the repetition of bland phrases, and the cast affect an array of gasps, whimpers and screams.