OK, you may now be scratching your head wondering why there is a review of a cinema show on a theatre website. The answer is that this no ordinary cinema performance. This is a Secret Cinema production which means that as well as the film itself, 28 Days Later, there is also some seriously immersive theatrical experiences for the audience to go through.
Secret Cinema are past masters at this type of large scale production and the experience starts a long time before you turn up for your booked ‘show’ with emails from the NSH explaining what the Rage virus is and requesting that everyone takes the online test to check their susceptibility to the virus. And it goes on. The Secret Cinema Facebook page contains ‘news’ bulletins from the BBCC on the spread of the virus so by the time you arrive for your appointment, you really are already well into the world of Danny Boyle’s 2002 of a plague epidemic spreading throughout the country.
Let’s start off with dealing with the often quoted negative. Secret Cinema is not cheap – although if you go on a matinee it can be a lot cheaper than going in the evening. But while it isn’t cheap, you have to remember that you are paying for a four-five hour experience which, in this case, involves a lot of running and many amazingly scary scenes where, while your head is telling you ‘it isn’t real’ your body is screaming at you to ‘get the fudge out of Dodge’. The fun starts immediately you arrive at the secret location for your vaccination, and whatever you do, don’t upset the soldiers on the gates.
Once inside – which on the day I went took a really long time – you realise that what was happening outside had not even marginally prepared you for what was to come. As you go through the whole ‘zombie’ run, giving your heart and nerves a well deserved work-out on the way, you finally get to the viewing room where you see the movie, and I would recommend keeping your eyes and sense peeled as the film is played as not all of the highly enthusiastic and energetic cast take this as well earned opportunity for a rest between shows.
So yes, Secret Cinema is not cheap. When you add the cost of the recommended costume to the ticket price, it is quite expensive but, with what you are getting for your money, it is well worth the price. Unlike some of the previous productions, 28 Days Later is done brilliantly without Secret Cinema doing their damndest to get you to part with more money once in the door. There are not many opportunities to buy drink and food and when there are, the price is probably about the same as paying at a normal theatre or cinema. The show itself is very slick and has been put together to maximise the enjoyment/fear of the audience and put them in the right frame of mind to really appreciate the film. My one gripe, not enough toilets for the number of people, which lead to quite a large queue after the show finished.
All in all, Secret Cinema, 28 Days Later was a really enjoyable – if at times terrifying – way to spend an afternoon evening. I was with a group of 5 and every one of us was singing its praises loudly when we finally made it out alive. My one piece of advice to you all #dontwakeup.
Review by Terry Eastham
Secret Cinema Presents
14th April 2016 – 29th May 2016
Prepare yourself for a brand-new horror experience. Secret Cinema Presents is bringing Danny Boyle’s 2002 British cult classic, 28 Days Later, to life. When Jim (Cillian Murphy), wakes from a coma to discover a deadly virus has infected London and society has all but collapsed, he must fight for survival in a world that has been torn apart by the infected.
Expect a fully immersive, cinematic experience that will bring you into the heart of a post-apocalyptic world. The event will run for 5 hours, and as well as a themed screening of the film, the audience will be taken into a fictional world, with actors, epic sets and interactive experiences that will give you the chance to live the horror for real.
The event is strictly for guests aged 18 or over.