Secret Cinema Presents: 28 DAYS LATER

PrintE-mail Written by J.D. Gillam

After the huge – and rightfully so – success of last year’s presentation of The Empire Strikes Back, the minds behind Secret Cinema have decided to dip their toes into the horror genre for the first time and have used Danny Boyle’s seminal 28 Days Later as the template title to test their skills.

We were invited along to experience their first terror event and give you an idea of what we thought.

As always, this is a spoiler-free review, so as not to ruin anything for those who are might be or who are already booked to go.

The first change from last year’s event is that this is a strictly adults only show, so there won’t be any children going this time. But, we are promised a fully immersive encounter yet again.

When you arrive at your pre-advised destination in London, you are met by actors who are pretty shady, as you’d expect considering the film at the core of the evening. Doctors and soldiers are on hand to instruct you on what you need to do, never breaking character.

You are taken through an induction into a hurriedly set up NSH (no, that’s not a typo) centre to be inoculated against the Rage virus that is sweeping across the country. From there, it all kicks off as the walls start to crumble around you and the realisation that we are all on our own against the infected dawns on you.

You are whisked through the majority of the storyline before potential safety appears to be made available to us, only for it to be barely a mirage, but actually turns into the highlight of the evening.

Now, the experience varies greatly from last year, and this does have an effect on the events and what you get out of it. It is still a very professional presentation and you can see that a lot of work has gone into it, especially behind the scenes and the highlight above as well as how you watch the film at the end of the evening are impressive. There are some good effects during the film as the environment is put to good use.

However, the interactivity of last year – and Back to the Future from a couple of years ago – is missing. Those previous movie choices had such iconic scenes to play out that your involvement was expected and encouraged if you wanted to get the most out the event. It was fun and a real geeky, family experience.

For this, interactivity is less encouraged as the majority of your encounter is more of an adrenaline rush as you spend your time running away from the actors playing the infected.

The problem is that there aren’t any real iconic scenes in 28 Days Later, unlike the jaw-dropping moments from last year, like the full-size X-Wing Fighter suddenly appearing, or the use of the DeLorean the previous year.

Of course, you could say that it is perhaps unfair to compare the different films and experiences, but as Secret Cinema pride themselves on a totally unique product, then they need to continuously bring their ‘A’ game. There are occasions with the 28 Days Later event where you feel like you are journeying through just another haunted maze and it all feels over very quickly.

It’s great that Secret Cinema has decided to branch out and attempt a horror encounter like no other, and at certain points they achieve their goal, but the genre is always going to be subjectively personal. What scares one person will just make somebody else laugh.

We truly hope that the minds behind Secret Cinema try horror again, but they need to choose a film that submerses you in the experience; perhaps something like Alien or Aliens or even the dream sequences of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

In conclusion, we will say that it is still a fantastic experience if you’ve not tried something like it before, but it’s not up to the exceedingly high standards of previous Secret Cinema showings.

But, we will return…

Secret Cinema Presents 28 Days Later runs May 29th, 2016.

Tickets can be purchased from http://www.secretcinema.org/tickets.


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