Friday, 22 April 2016

Secret Cinema

This time last Friday, I found myself being chased around a giant warehouse by Zombies. Well people dressed up as Zombies. But still! It was a fantasy come true.

Last Friday I attended Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later.

DON'T WAKE UP!

I've never been to a secret cinema event before. Even though I have known about secret cinema for a long time. I don't remember how or when I got on the email list but I've been receiving their emails for many years now. I remember how disappointed I was when I missed out on getting tickets for their Shawshank Redemption event back in 2012 and getting very frustrated in recent years when I simply didn't have the money to spend, when it came to their Back to the Future and Star Wars events, especially the Star Wars event! That would have been amazing, I'm still little sore about missing that one.

But, when I saw that they were doing 28 days later! I just knew that was it, that was the one I was going to go to, the one that under no circumstances was I going to miss. I absolutely had to attend!!!

So it was lucky that I had the money to buy the tickets - it was before I spent all my money on my big summer trip to South East Asia. You see, I've been obsessed with zombies and the forthcoming zombie apocalypse for as long as I can remember! I have spent numerous hours plotting what I would will do in the event of a zombie apocalypse, plotting out my escape route and creating a survival plan. I've even written a film script about it. So no I wasn't going to miss this for the end of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So a few months back - as soon as they went on sale - I bought two tickets. One for me and one for my lovely girlfriend Liliana - even though I don't think she's seen the film or is particularly interested in zombies - but unfortunately I managed to buy tickets for the weekend that she was going to Lisbon for her grandmothers 80th birthday and so I took this beautiful creature instead.

This is my good mate Dom:



He really got into the spirit of it. A lot has been said about the whole dressing up thing: whether they will let you in without being dressed up, whether you should be expected to pay even more for a costume when the tickets alone cost £65. However, what I would say is that dressing up is very much within the spirit of Secret Cinema. It is immersive theatre and if you want to fully immerse yourself in the experience, I would say scrub up. It will help you get into character and aide you to get the most out of your evening.

I dressed up too. Here I am stood outside in the rain, just about to go into St Thomas' "NSH" Hospital:



And the thing is that it isn't a cheap night out. The tickets are £65 plus a booking fee and that's just the start of it. Once you've bought the scrubs, a few drinks and a burger, you'll looking at upwards of £90 each. Which is a lot. But more than an average out in London: meal, club, taxi home? And a hell of a lot more fun I'm sure!

So yes maybe expensive but I would describe it as a rip off. A burger cost £7 which I think is pretty standard fare and a bottle of water was £1. What event, gig, cinema etc have you been to in the last 10 years where a bottle of water costs less than £2?

So expensive but an amazing time is awaiting you. The time, money, effort and production that has gone into Secret Cinema Presents: 28 days later, is nothing short of phenomenal!

The premise is that you are attending a clinic where you will be given a revolutionary vaccine against the rage virus. They set it up very well, with emails and a dedicated website. You can even do a quiz which determines how susceptible to the disease you are.

Apparently I had a 58% chance of contracting the infection:



And you find yourself immersed in the world of 28 days later right from the front gates, where you're greeted by soldiers and doctors. The soldiers checking your tickets and the doctors checking your eyes to see if you're showing any signs of rage virus.

Next you're sent to wait in a tented corridor with a flickering light which really starts to set the tone for what to expect. And without going into too much detail and ruining the suspense for anyone still to attend the event which is running until 29th May, it's all about immersing you into the film. So there is lots of running, people dressed up as zombies banging on fences and grabbing at you from behind strips of plastic sheeting.

You will also visit the high rise flat and of course you will end up at the army compound. Unfortunately I don't have any photographs of inside the event. You have to seal your phone into a plastic bag. I maybe could have gotten away with a few sneaky pictures. But as well as not being keen on being caught, I was also too busy having fun, being scared out of my wits to take pictures.

At the end what i basically a huge haunted house experience - but I don't say that in a negative way - everybody sits or in this case lies down and watches the film. It's many years since I watched the film. I was tempted to watch it just before going to the event but I'm glad that I didn't. But of course the immersive theatre element doesn't stop there, from the decor of the cinema room to actors running around you acting out several key scenes as they play out on the big screens, you are immersed from beginning to end.

All in all I had a brilliant time at Secret Cinema presents 28 Days Later. And I'm happy to say that we managed to emerge pretty much unscathed:



There was one small thing however, it wasn't really scary enough for me. It was a little bit scary but certainly not too scary. Maybe they could have done a general event and then an X-rated event? But that small gripe aside, I felt entertained the whole way through and although it was a lot of money, it was definitely money well spent! Although I would have loved to have gone to previous Secret Cinema events, in many ways I'm glad I chose 28 Days Later to be my first Secret Cinema experience. I'm certainly glad I went, it was the perfect event for me. I'm definitely looking forward to see what they do in the future. I mean I'm not interested in their next event - Dirty Dancing - so much. But exciting to see what they do after that. Maybe they can do the Matrix? I would definitely be there for that! You just try and stop me!!!

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