Secret Cinema Presents Stranger Things Review: A Thrillingly Immersive Extravaganza

Photographer: www.lukedyson.com© Secret Cinema – Luke Dyson

In a secret London location, the world of Stranger Things has faithfully been brought to life unlike anyway it has been before and it’s been done in a way that only Secret Cinema can do. Granted, Universal Studios has brought the show to life in 2018 and 2019 as part of their Halloween Horror Nights event, but those were just horror mazes – this experience was far unlike that and far superior.

For those who aren’t in the know, Secret Cinema is a UK events company famous for bringing famous movies to life, allowing guests to envelop themselves into new characters and take part in an immersive experience before finally watching the film and because the experience is so secretive (hence the name) and packed with surprises this review will not spoil any key moments from the show.

Stranger Things is their first foray into television territory and their first with no actual screening, so the “cinema” part of “Secret Cinema” may seem a bit redundant at first, but as soon as I stepped into the first location of the event, it no longer mattered.

The experience began at home when I received my role; I was Raymond “Bozo” Iverson, a Hawkins High School Alumni who was a member of the Drama Club and now a proud member of the Hawkins News Network. I had also been given a favourite movie, song and a costume guide.

Once we passed through the entrance, we were immersed since it was Hawkins High School students volunteering as coat checkers. Once our “cells” had been bagged and stowed, we were in the ’80s and were about to begin our night at Hawkins High School Reunion and the 4th of July celebrations.

Photographer: www.lukedyson.com
Photographer: http://www.lukedyson.com

© Secret Cinema – Luke Dyson

The event completely soaked us into the idealistic and colourful 1980s whereas members of the press we were told to go out and mingle with the locals so we can find a “good story” – this meant interacting with characters who are played by lookalike actors who never break character and are rarely off-stage. They will recreate famous scenes around you and will pull you in the scenes to take part in the action.

Photographer: www.lukedyson.com
Photographer: http://www.lukedyson.com

© Secret Cinema – Luke Dyson

The sets are all recreations of famous locations from seasons two and three, which have been painstakingly recreated to be as immersive and as interactive as they possibly can, and there are even some new locations which (to my knowledge) are somewhat original to this event.

I’ve read a few reviews from people complaining about this event, stating that it’s “boring” but those people just sat at the bar the whole night because I was always doing something. It took us about thirty minutes to get ice cream (from a particular familiar location) because we kept running into different characters performing different scenes from the third season and if they go on an adventure, you will go with them. Some may consider this a major flaw, but to us, it was nothing but a spontaneous thrill-ride.

As mentioned before, this event has no screening as it would be difficult to screen a TV series, but don’t fear. There is a perfect sensory climax, which I found more satisfying than ending the night with a film because it kept the excitement levels high right up to when we left.

I’ve attended two Secret Cinema Presents events, The Empire Strikes Back and 28 Days Later, while 28 Days Later was essentially a horror maze, I’m struggling to decide whether Stranger Things was better than The Empire Strikes Back event but I can say that it told the story better. We had no clue that the story of Empire was happening around us until the end, but this time we followed the plot with absolute ease and felt like we were actually in the show.

That being said, I implore you to watch the series if you haven’t already done so. You may want to go in ignorant, but you will likely be completely lost.

If you’re in London and you can get tickets, as of writing only the final two months, January and February 2020 are available, and then you must go! It is true to the Netflix show, and although I was not around in the 80’s I spoke to many people attending who said it was a very nostalgic experience for them.

Secret Cinema Presents: Stranger Things is a 10/10 experience.

Edited By Keshav Kant

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