Review: Virtual Reality And Zombies, Terrifying As It Sounds?

Virtually Dead ★★★☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 23 months ago
Review: Virtual Reality And Zombies, Terrifying As It Sounds? Virtually Dead 3
One of the actors with a zombie.

Virtual reality (VR) plus zombies. Sounds terrifying to us — not to mention a great way to take immersive theatre to the next level.

The teams at Noma Labs and Bearded Kitten have joined forced with HTC to promote the latter's new VR headset through this military-themed zombie shoot em up. But does the undead premise live up to expectations?

These people don't mess around. We're thrown into an expletive-laden briefing, complete with push-ups and a stern dressing-down, before being put into boiler suits and taken into 'basic training'.

We won't spoil the scenarios that follow but they're dialogue heavy with plenty of OTT acting. The characters take all of this very seriously, while our group took to it with a more light-hearted approach. It would have been nice if more of the actors recognised this and injected a bit more knowing humour.

Corpses hanging from the ceiling. All the setpieces are well designed.

On the plus side the make-up and gore on the zombies is excellent — we're still trying to scrub the 'blood spatter' off our glasses. The set design for the sequences is very well done too, and there are a few moments when we jump out of our skin, though we did see most of these coming.

As for the VR itself — that's limited to just one section of the experience — a bit disappointing as the advertising had led us expect a lot more of it. Still, it's great fun to shoot zombies and we did visibly flinch when they were near.

While Virtually Dead isn't quite the experience we'd hoped for, it did have us smiling throughout (with a couple of yelps along the way).

The immersive theatre section is enjoyable if not particularly novel (we've done the whole zombie experience before, and some of those sequences were repeated here), but the VR does add an additional dimension.

More of it in future experiences, please.

A person using the HTC Vive virtual reality headset.

Virtually Dead is on at a secret venue in Hackney. Tickets are £30 + booking fee. The initial run has sold out but more will be released today so register on the waiting list if you want to know when they're available.

Last Updated 17 March 2016