Outbreak Brighton – A dark, muddy, Zombie filled evening
23rd – 26th October 2014
As we arrive at the arches next to Brighton Station we are greeted by a queue of eager/anxious participants, some in army threads (it was suggested by the organisers), others more normally dressed, we most definitely fell into the first group, my husband is fully camoed and i’m almost there but with the waterproof cycling trousers instead to protect myself from what i’m sure will be a very muddy evening if the rain over the last few days is anything to go by! We’ve already read the small print about what to wear so sturdy boots and wellies are on the agenda as well as many layers.
Once we reach the front of the queue we are greeted by a pair of white coated lab technicians who ask us for our names, we are then sternly told to move to the table to our left to be ‘tagged’ with a wristband and to fill in a disclaimer which mainly consists of telling us it’s not their fault if we hurt ourselves (I’m getting a little nervous by this point!)
Soon a bus pulls up and we are told in no uncertain terms by Mrs lab technician to line up next to it, our arms are stamped as we board and as soon as it’s filled she addresses us all and thanks us for taking part in the Viral Life “study” and off we go into the darkness. At this point no one knows where we are going but there are a very rowdy group at the back repeatedly shouting ‘Oosh!’ who i’m hoping get eaten by zombies later.
We pull up in a dark car park in which looks like the middle of nowhere and a bellowing army sergeant tells us to line up and makes a guy smoking a cigarette do 10 press ups for his bad behaviour, haha! I have a feeling this isn’t going to be an easy ride…as we are made to jog into the venue grounds i’m getting a little worried about how physical the evening might be! The venue is fully transformed this evening with what looks like a series of forensic tents across the field in front and screams can be heard which can in the distance, it all creates an incredibly unnerving atmosphere! We are split into groups and marked on the arm with a letter so we know what group we are in and off we go.
I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone as i’m sure this is going to become a regular fixture on Brighton’s calendar but what follows in a series of muddy and wet running, crawling and scrambling around dark countryside, sometimes led by and army clad helpers and other times not. Sometimes zombies appear, sometimes they split you into smaller groups which definitely makes it more scary and at one point I am completely separated from my team and made to walk into a pitch black tunnel, suddenly a voice behind me whispers “you better think about starting to run now” and I duly do, this is definitely one of the creepiest parts of my experience!
It’s definitely an up and down experience in terms of ‘scares’, and i’m sure some of it is due to it being the first event in Brighton, but there seems to be quite a lot of waiting around. At one point we were kneeling in a muddy field for nearly 10 minutes waiting for a van to appear, not so comfortable.
I definitely feel that there should have been more zombies though… the event was described as a cross between Tough Mudder and 28 days later but i’d say it was more Tough Mudder than anything. There was definitely a lot of running which didn’t always feel necessary, I feel like if there were more zombies dotted about the course it would have definitely added to the experience and made me feel like we were running away from something. Also at one point it’s as if you’re supposed to be running from a zombie horde but there was only about 2 of them as far as I could see so I started walking, my sense of urgency had waned at this point! There were also a few other prime spots for jump scares that didn’t materialise which I feel were missed opportunities.
Overall I definitely had fun and although with the scale of the event I can understand the price tag, it does seem a little steep for what you get in the end. I was definitely aching the next day but still a little confused about what i’d experienced. As I said, perhaps it was because it was the first year but I hope the event develops further and takes on participants feedback for next time. Mine being more scares please!
*Images by Matt Stephens www.mattstephensphotography.