At the top of the stairs we came to the room with the blue light.
We were enclosed by darkness with the only source of light coming from a laptop screen at the far end. At the centre of the room, we could just make out what seemed to be a table. It was quiet, so it was safe.
Aware of what could lay waiting for us in the shadows, we treaded slowly, making sure to not make any noise that would attract attention from the undead who rustled below.
“Who goes there?”
We hear as a shape starts moving from the now trembling table. We turn that laptop towards it to see what was there.
On the table lies a thin woman who had probably not been fed for days, skin eroding, strapped to the table.
“Run! Quick! They’re coming!”
We’d got what we had come here for, and as the shrieks start making their way up the stairs, we’re running. There’s confusion, one falls, is left behind, but there’s no looking back. It’s all about the mission here – there’s no place for sentimentality.
If it sounds like the end of the world, it’s because it is.
And that is the feeling that 2.8 Hours Later were aiming for when they thrust a group of eight of us out to explore abandoned warehouses somewhere in North West London.
It was a place that truly seemed to have been abandoned by civilization a long time ago.
From the location to the production values they have everything spot on with their choices for new game, Survival, currently touring around London just in time for Halloween.
The queue was long early and as I showed up making sure I was comfortable in a track jacket and shorts, I realized that I somehow missed the memo that jeans and trainers were the fashion of the apocalypse.
The hundreds of people in the queue were divided up in groups of eight and sent out on their mission, to retrieve water to take back to the camp.
Zombies aren’t the only ones waiting to pounce on you, and just like any other dystopian scenario, this one wouldn’t be complete without its share of sketchy humans.
The corrupt police are trying to trick you and everyone you meet along the way is a potential danger, not even the quarantine zone is safe.
There are some truly scary moments. The exploration of the abandoned building is eerie. Blood splattered all over the floors and walls, the undead seemingly around every corner.
Jump scares are obviously part of the game, but there are few and far between, it is the atmosphere that gets to you the most and makes you uneasy.
It surrounds you, drowns you, makes sure you know that you’re not safe.
When the jump scares do eventually come, they are terrifying.
The flight is frantic, chaos spreads and it’s everyone for themselves, even the group leader whose infection would mean the failure of our mission, becomes just another in the mass.
This is, in essence, an elaborate game of tag. If you are caught by a zombie, you will become one, not straight away though.
You will be allowed to continue with the rest of your team. The transformation will only happen at the end when you’re being let into the ‘Party at the end of the World’
Oh yes, this is not all doom and gloom, though much of that is seen along the way, there is a party at the end filled with games, beer, wine and themed cocktails.
And you are welcome to come whether you happen to have survived or are now part of the undead.
After just over an hour and a half, we were there – it was short mission, a big downside to an otherwise immersive experience – and all our group had survived, if only just.
A ghoulish hand was dodged by yours truly at the final hurdle, ensuring he survived the night and made it back to the party alive.
This does not however mean that he wasn’t eternally scarred by some of the things he had seen along the way…