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The Horror Channel plays with dead things at 2.8 Hours Later.
By James Whittington, Sunday 20th November 2011

Mall ZombieHorror Channel's Stewart Bridle decided to take on the undead with the ultimate zombie-chase game, 2.8 Hours Later. Here he tells us of his experience. (Photo by James Koch)

When it comes to a zombie apocalypse I’m pretty much prepared. I've done my research, studied the Romero's, The Fulci's and even sat through Uwe Boll's House Of The Dead. Like any other genre fan I've thought about my survival plan and always keep one eye and ear on rolling 24-hour news channels for the first sign of any undead outbreak. But what happened when I was actually thrown into the situation 'for real', running for my life through the streets of London with slavering zombies hot on my heels as I prayed I’d reach my next safe-house...?

This isn't the set of a movie but 2.8 Hours Later a zombie-chase street game, organised by Slingshot and happening over a dark autumn evening and for the first-time, after successful previous events in Bristol and Leeds, in our nation's capital.

After a brief registration process I'm thrown together with a group of other 'survivors' as we’re given a map, a briefing on the game rules and clues to our first 'safe-zone' where we’ll receive our next instructions. We're all immediately on edge and our fear and mis-trust in each other and everyone almost lead us to ignore our next clue where we’re told to find a nearby café but there’s just one problem... getting there will involve avoiding the hungry zombies lying in wait in the streets. Being caught by one of these monsters won’t involve you becoming supper but rather you will be marked as 'infected' and that could have consequences when you reach the end of the game.

At first our adversaries seem the traditional Romero shuffling sort who can be dodged by a quick pace and a wide berth, but get within a certain range and these creatures charge at you with all the speed and ferocity of an undead Usain Bolt. We quickly learn that the best solution to this is to wait for another group to go through first and while they distract the horde we run through unnoticed. Well, it is survival of the smartest in these situations...

Soon we reach our goal and a jittery café owner warns us about the danger around us, upset as his poor daughter became infected and had to be contained. She then makes a sudden appearance at the café window and vomits blood all over it, putting me off the idea of asking for a bacon roll with extra tomato sauce. A quick few questions later we’ve got our next objective and we're back creeping through the streets, alert to every dark doorway and alleyway from which a ghoul may strike.

The chilling sounds of screams coming from a nearby multi-story car-park tell us we've found our next destination and our group enter with much trepidation. Body parts and bloodied torn clothing are strewn about the barely lit stairwell as we ascend and when we come out onto one of the parking levels we are met with the ominous sounds of moaning and the sight of another cannibalistic corpse dragging its leg along in the near-distance. As we attempt to get around this obstacle we are cut-off by another creature descending the next level ramp and our group panics and splits with only half of us making it to the next safe-zone and our next instruction. As we leave we’re chased down the stairs by something I don't even want to look back at and finally reach safety outside where we are reunited with the other half of our group. However there's been a problem, one of them has been 'infected' and while they still seem fine I'm keeping a close watch on them at all times, ready to do what’s necessary if they turn...

After many more horrific and sometimes humorous encounters, including one with a 'hen party from hell' that looks like some demented version of the Sugababes, we finally find the final safety of Resistance HQ where we're 'scanned' and our infected member is separated for 'quarantine'. Luckily for them this doesn't mean a bullet to the brain but the opportunity to get made up as a zombie and then re-join the group for a photo-session and then a very welcome beer in the zombie disco.

It's truly been both a terrifying and fantastic interactive horror experience, made by the organisation and the crew involved. And as the night's survivors get down to the sounds of Michael Jackson's Thriller I wish all apocalypses could be this much fun...

For more information and future game dates check out 2.8 Hours Later


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