For those unfamiliar with the concept of ‘Secret Cinema’, it’s essentially an immersive experience where, prior to a screening of the film, you act out elements of the movie and become part of the action. It will cost you between £40 (concessions) and £64.50 (everyone else) + booking fees to see the ‘28 Days Later’ instalment. It sounds pricey, but it’s way more than a trip to your local Cineworld.
Yahoo Movies went down to Canada Water (the London location) to see the show so that we could provide you with some spoiler-free tips and advice to help make your experience the best it can be.
You Don’t NEED To Wear Scrubs
You may have heard reports of Secret Cinema-goers being refused entry because they weren’t dressed as Cillian Murphy (i.e. wearing medical scrubs) and didn’t want to pay £20 for a set at the door. Now we weren’t there so we can’t comment on what happened, but we CAN say that we didn’t need them. We were handed a white polyester onesie that we’re told are normally on sale for around £2. Whether these were always available or are a hasty addition to stem any more fallout, we’ll never know, but £2 isn’t a vast expense.
If you do fancy getting all dressed up, the basic scrubs package is pretty well priced (£20) compared to a few high street fancy dress shops we looked at. We couldn’t even see much of a saving on Amazon. You can buy scrubs at the door from an ambulance right after you get your tickets checked. However, you don’t need to stretch to the £30 set. For the extra tenner you’ll get a better quality mask (although you do need a mask, the £20 set has one anyway) and a pair of goggles which you 100% don’t need.
It explicitly says to wear trainers in all the introductory materials. Pay attention and do as it says people. This is not an evening for high or Cuban heels. There is a fair amount of running at the beginning which will be a nightmare if you’re not wearing the right footwear. Without giving too much away, you’ll be running through tunnels, around (and from) ‘actors’ and up stair cases. So you get the idea. Wear flats.
Don’t Wear Too Many Layers
Organisers suggest that you wear layers of dark clothes under your scrubs. Well, we wouldn’t recommend wearing many layers. Mainly because the venue is pretty warm, you’re getting scared the entire time and, of course, the aforementioned running. We were fine with one thin jumper/t-shirt under our scrubs/onesie, so unless you’re prone to the chills more than most, less is more. If you’re worried about getting cold during the film (post cardio), there are blankets available for free.
We couldn’t find a cloakroom, so whatever you take with you, you’ll have to carry it throughout the evening. You could probably get away with a backpack, but everyone with a handbag or satchel looked as though they wanted to hurl it like a discus. They just got in the way, got caught on stuff and made it tricky to move quickly. Plus it looked odd with their stylish scrubs. So try not to take anything you’ll need to carry.
Go To The Bathroom In The First Stage
Once inside the first section there is the chance to get a drink and/or go to the bathroom. If you need to use the loo, well, do it, we’re not your mother. If you think you might need the toilet in the next 30 mins, we’d suggest you go now too as there isn’t another chance for half an hour. Ladies, there are only three cubicles for you in the first stage, so make sure you queue with enough time before your group’s allotted slot (that will make sense once you’re inside).
There Is Running, But Not Too Much Running
So although you should 100% wear trainers, don’t be put off by the idea of paying £65 for a cardio workout… in scrubs… with strangers… in Canada Water. We hadn’t been to the gym for a few weeks and we got slightly out of breath, but nothing major.
You (Probably) Won’t Get Covered In Blood
For those worried about getting their clothes all messy, don’t fret; you probably won’t be needing any Daz advert miracles the next day. Unless you slop Tommy K down your front while tucking into a burger and chips, it’s unlikely that you’ll get red on you.
Watch Your Step
The second phase is a lot of fun, but it’s also very dark. We’re not the health and safety police or anything, but we recommend you be pretty careful. There are a few moments where, if you weren’t paying attention, you might not notice the upcoming staircase. Also, there is a bit where you’re foraging for food in a pile of broken furniture and we almost spiked ourselves on an upside down chair, so keep your eyes open.
You Get Split Up Into Boys And Girls
In true ‘Secret Cinema’ fashion, you get split up from your mates again. Once you get to the end of stage two (the running), you’ll be split up into boys and girls. You’ll then have to go off and do separate tasks. While some enjoy getting really into the spirit of the experience and are happy to be on their own, most people will probably want to explore with their mates. Once you’ve completed your tasks, a good meeting place is the staged dining room on the right as soon as you enter this bit.
The Film Starts At Around 8.35pm
If you want your pick of the ‘seats’ in the screening room, we’d recommend getting to the entrance to stage three (where you get split into boys and girls) for about 8.20pm. This should get you near the front of the queue down to the film. However, you should definitely poke your head round the corner before you do as there is a rather peculiar activity from 8pm.
Sit In The Centre Of The Screening Room
The screening room has a number of projections of the film around the place. Although you’ll be tempted to pick the one with the most central ‘seats’ for that specific screen, we’d highly recommend aiming for the centre of the room if you want the best view of the live action moments that are known to happen at ‘Secret Cinema’. If you’re not in the centre, you won’t be that close to the action. Try to avoid the very front section (this will be on the right hand side when you walk in) as most of the live moments will happen behind you.
The Film Ends At 10.30pm
The movie ends at around 10.30pm, so there’s still plenty of time to get the tube. If you’re not ready to go home just yet, there is a bar where you can get a few more drinks before you hit the road.
’Secret Cinema Presents 28 Days Later’ will run from 14th April 2016 to 29th May 2016.