Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later

"Good"

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Review


Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises of both 2014's Back to the Future and 2015's Star Wars, this immersive take on Danny Boyle's classic zombie movie feels rather undercooked. But there's a lot of fun to be had (if not many scares) spending several hours trying to survive in a world overrun by the undead.

The set-up is very clever: you are given an appointment at an NSH hospital in a secret London location, and told to wear scrubs or protective clothing. On arrival you're handed a surgical mask and ordered here and there for interviews, physical examinations and eventually an oral vaccination that seems to make everything go blurry and then pitch black. When you "wake up" all hell has broken loose, and you are sent running through a series of blood-drenched corridors and stairwells, encountering characters and settings from the film as zombies lunge from every corner. In the safe zone, food and drink is for sale, and you get a chance to relax a bit, play a game, have a dance. Finally, you're led into an inventively themed cinema to watch the 2002 film as on-screen elements are performed around you.

Through all of this, medical and military officials harshly shout instructions at you, while TV screens show news reports of chaos on the streets. Combined with the dimly lit post-apocalyptic setting, the atmosphere is enjoyably claustrophobic, only broken by the nagging sense that money is draining out of your wallet at an alarming rate. Not only is the ticket £67 (or £134 for a "premium experience"), but there are things to buy at every point, from the scrubs or coveralls to pricey cocktails served in small bottles or coffee mugs and a relatively slim selection of restaurant-priced food options.

The problem is that, unlike previous Secret Cinema events, there aren't any wow moments, no cool discoveries to make along the way, nothing that takes the breath away. Everything is sharply conceived, and the cast is remarkably focussed on maintaining the atmosphere. But you wait in vain for something big to happen. Still, it's great to revisit the film in such an immersive style. On big screens, it's still remarkably fresh, as Cillian Murphy wakes up in an eerily abandoned London and connects with a few survivors before it all goes off the rails in Christopher Eccleston's horror-movie military sanctuary. Secret Cinema has created an enjoyable event (it runs until 29th May 2016), but there's a nagging feeling that they could have been a lot more creative than this.

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

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