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Secret Cinema’s 28 Days Later: review, tips and spoiler free walkthrough

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Secret Cinema’s latest immersive event for film lovers and livers is 28 Days Later. Recreating Danny Boyle’s story of a UK decimated by a rage virus is Secret Cinema’s first go at horror, and is a hugely exciting and successful experience.

In the 2002 cult classic, Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma to discover a deadly virus has infected London, and society has all but collapsed. He must now fight for survival in a world that has been torn apart by the infected.

Secret Cinema have crafted a cinematic adventure that brings you into the heart of a post-apocalyptic Britain. It’s a crazy-large scale endeavour housed in an intimidating, rambling abandoned space, and does not just make you feel like you’re in the movie, but that the movie might be about to kill you.

Secret Cinema’s 28 Days Later fuses film, music, theatre and installations into an unforgettable, panic-inducing and pulse-tripling thrill ride, as you creep, crawl and run for your bloody life through an ultra-immersive world where fiction and reality blurs. The event lasts a whopping five hours, including a screening of the film, and sees you interacting with actors and epic sets – giving you the chance to live (and hopefully survive) the horror for real.

If you are unfamiliar with Secret Cinema: You buy your tickets to a performance of the film, but the location is secret. Closer to the time the whereabouts will be revealed to you, but in the meantime, covert electronic communications give you hints about what to expect and a guide to what to wear on the night.

Seeing the movie is PART of it all, but it is the immersion and interactivity that are the sell. Yes, you could watch the film at home for a fraction, but Secret Cinema is an opportunity to transport yourself inside the movie and create and enjoy memories and experiences that are priceless for cinephiles.

As the whole point is that it’s, well, SECRET, I cannot say much more than “go, it’s awesome”, so – like for Secret Cinema’s The Empire Strikes Back last year – here is a guide on how to get the most out of the experience. With tips on how to prepare, and a bit of a walkthrough to help you experience as much as possible on the night.

 

  1. DRESS UP

You’ll receive guidance on garb for the night – follow it. If you’re sourcing your own stuff, that’s fine, but the kit available from Secret Cinema itself is perfect and includes more than enough to make you feel like you’re about to go into a movie.

 

  1. TAKE PROPS TOO

They’re included in the Secret Cinema kit, but if you’re not getting that, ensure you have at least: the thing for your mouth, the tube of something, and the picture of something. The first is essential, and the others will greatly enhance your interactions on the night.

 

  1. FOOTWEAR

You remember how everyone kicked off about the “zombies” (infected) running in 28 Days Later? Yeah, that’s why you’re going to want to wear shoes you can move quickly and quietly in.

 

  1. BAGGAGE

Take as little as possible – it’ll only slow you down!

 

  1. PHONE

Obvs you can’t leave it behind, but do be prepared to seal it in a bag and keep it in your pocket all night – it’s all a secret, and you would hate to do anything to break the spell for everyone else.

 

  1. FRAME OF MIND

On that note: be in the right frame of mind. Take it seriously and don’t be a dick – you’ve all paid a lot of money for your tickets, so don’t do anything that will pull yourself, or your co-audience out of the experience.

 

  1. INTERACT

The more you put in, the more you get out. Talk to the actors – in character – look at stuff, show an interest, get involved. This is recognised and rewarded.

 

  1. EXPLORE

Go everywhere. Don’t just stay in the main area – there’s loads tucked away waiting to be found and enjoyed.

 

  1. LOOK

When on the move, keep ’em peeled for everyone and everything – friendly and dangerous – you’re about to be part of some unforgettable imagery come to life.

 

  1. LISTEN

Follow instructions – they’re genuinely for your benefit. Not only will the whole thing run smoothly, but you’ll maybe hear something from a character that may come in handy, or tip you off to a mini mission you could carry out.

 

  1. LOO

Go, or at least try, anytime you get the opportunity. There’s a long stretch in the middle where there won’t be any facilities available, and also getting up to go during the film will risk you missing something.

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Walkthrough

On arrival, have your ticket out and be prepared for everyone involved to be taking this not only seriously – but for real. Remember, you are arriving at a hospital to get a vaccination to stop you from contracting a deadly virus that is spreading and killing the UK’s populous.

Once you get in the first area keep a listen out for your number – you cannot miss your appointment. That being said, you will have ten, fifteen minutes wait in the holding area. Get a pick me up, watch a world-building video, and don’t fret about queuing – it doesn’t make any difference if you’re first or last into the next area.

In this next bit with an actor, the best chairs are the ones in the front. Left, right and centre have equal views, but left will get you into the next bit first.

Following this you’ll enter a very, very large area with lots of “seating” options. Pick the far end to see more of the action, or the nearest spots as you enter to be first into the fast-paced next part.

Your trainers are worth their weight in gold throughout this whole middle section – so I hope you do some cardio. Placement doesn’t really matter – you and the action will be on the move – just stick close to the actors.

Once you get back “inside” the best place to sit and take a breather is on the left as you may get handed a little treat…

After another journey, you’ll reach the penultimate location. You have plenty of time here, but if you want feeding, do that first. The drinks are good too – large and strong. Then explore, everything and everywhere, and complete any tasks you may have been given or hinted to about.

Something very cool happens right before the screening, but staying at the back on the left will mean you can see that, but also get first dibs on your place for the film itself.

After you get over how cool the screening area is, either head to the back row for the comfiest “seats”, or go third row middle to be in the midst of the action, and able to see anything that occurs behind or around the screen.

Then go home and have a nice cup of tea, and a sit down – you will have earned it!

Secret Cinema’s 28 Days Later is terrific. It’s highly infectious fun with symptoms including: panic, breathlessness and joy, and runs from the 14th of April until the 29th of May 2016.

Tickets are on sale here: www.secretcinema.org/tickets
#dontwakeup

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2 Comments

  1. How much running are we talking? Intermittent 10 minutes or 2 hours?
    Great review!

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks!

      It’s stop and start between “things” for probably less than ten minutes total.

      Have fun!

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