This year, Secret Cinema – the ultimate immersive cinematic event – celebrates its tenth anniversary. From its humble, underground beginnings it has grown to become an essential movie-going experience for any film fan looking for more than just another night out at the cinema.
Secret Cinema screenings regularly crack the UK box office top 10, and its latest – an experience based around Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – did the same, debuting at number 8 two weeks ago when it opened.
Having transformed London’s Olympic Park into Back to the Future’s Hill Valley in 2014, to taking Star Wars fans to Tatooine from the safety of a warehouse in Canada Water the following year for The Empire Strikes Back, Secret Cinema is now revisiting one of the most popular events – a rain-sodden Los Angeles 2019 for Blade Runner – The Final Cut: A Secret Live Experience.
As soon as you’ve bought your tickets, the Blade Runner experience begins, and you’re instructed to complete a compulsory online Voight Kampff test to determine your character, costume and back story for the event. In our case, we were Don Burkel – a Professional Companion working for Utopia. But most importantly, we were a replicant – something that became a concern when we found ourselves amongst a rabble of people protesting for a ban on all replicants on Earth at the event.
The film itself is only a very small part of a Secret Cinema event, with nights playing out more like immersive, experiential theatre with a film thrown in at the end.
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With all Secret Cinema events, how much you get involved in the theatrics of it all is entirely up to you. If you really want to make the most out of it, dress up, at the very least – otherwise you’ll feel silly once you get inside.
Leave any of that British awkwardness at home and get chatting to as many of the actors as you can, ask in-character bar staff for potential clues, and keep a look out for shifty-looking characters. And if you see Deckard (Harrison Ford’s character), Rachel (Sean Young’s) or any of the many characters, follow them and see what happens. There’s a big enough ratio between performers and guests, so there are plenty of people to interact with.
But, if you’d rather relax and soak up the atmosphere of the brilliantly-detailed, grimy dystopian surroundings, that’s fine too. There are enough sideshows to watch, rooms to explore and bars and food stands to sample to keep you busy until the film starts. It’s a sensory overload with something happening everywhere you look. And make sure you bring a rain mac or an umbrella as instructed – they’re not just props.
The ticket prices have always been a big talking point of Secret Cinema. But unlike some previous events, where there’s been just the one (eye-watering) price, Blade Runner – The Final Cut: A Secret Live Experience offers three ticket options, ranging from £45 to £175, each providing varying levels of interactions, online experiences, perks, and seating options. And it has to be said, this is probably the most comfortable we’ve been watching a film at Secret Cinema. Blade Runner itself is screened beautifully, with thunderous sound and lights. And, just like all previous events, there’s a huge amount going on around the screens to enhance the experience, so keep your eyes out for the actors.
Blade Runner – The Final Cut: A Secret Live Experience is by far the most immersive and exciting Secret Cinema event to date, and an absolute necessity for any Blade Runner fan. It’s the most fun you’re likely to have in an east London warehouse.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut – A Secret Live Experience Show runs from 21 March until 8 July, 2018.
Ticket prices range from £45 to £175 and are available here.