Friday night I found myself hiding behind a shelf hoping that
the corpse shambling down the shopping mall's corridor hadn't
seen me. My fingers played over the trigger of the shotgun in
my hands, ready to use it should I be discovered. A few hours
before, Reading town centre had succumbed to a zombie apocalypse
and I, along with a few fellow survivors, had taken shelter in
a local shopping mall. We'd managed to establish contact with
the authorities and now we just needed hold out until the military
came to rescue us...
...Of course, none of this was real, I was taking part in Zed
Events' "Full Immersion" zombie event The Mall. Based
in a shopping centre that is scheduled for demolition, Zed Events
have created a unique horror experience; something that is part
interactive film, part airsoft game.
The premise of the event is outlined in the opening paragraph;
you are a survivor of the zombie apocalypse holed up in a shopping
mall. You have been rescued by members of the police and armed
with a (airsoft) shotgun to fight off the undead. The event is
split into two succinct sections. The first section is the "cinematic
experience" which covers your arrival at the mall and your
attempts to get rescued, all the while harried by shambling zombies.
There are some really memorable set pieces during this section,
which I won't go into in detail so as not to spoil it for anyone
who actually goes along as a result of reading this review, but
suffice to say that it's an intense roller-coaster from the very
start. The second half of the event is the "fun" part...
Assuming your idea of fun is being chased by zombies around a
dark, empty mall whilst trying to find various pieces of equipment
that are vital to your continued survival (ammo crates, anti-viral
containers, etc). This time around the zombies are faster and
more intelligent than their earlier Romero counterparts.
There are two things that work in Zed Events' favour; the environment
and the zombies. Even without the zombies, the shopping mall is
a great venue. There are shops, security rooms, service tunnels,
basements and a really creepy children's play area. Torchlights
bounce off mirrors and you find yourself jumping at shadows, expecting
to be attacked at any moment. The sense of fear grows as night
settles in and the last vestiges of natural light slowly slip
away, meaning you become more reliant on torches. The zombies
themselves are really impressive; Zed Events don't use masks,
rather they employ cinema quality make up for their walking dead.
This makes it all the more effective when you spot one in the
darkened environment. It's not so much fight or fly, more fight
and fly (with a fair bit of added screaming).
If you want to do something horror-related that you'll be talking
about for years to come, I can’t recommend Zed Events' The
Mall enough. From the moment the lights go out and the zombies
make their presence known, the tension slowly builds up until
you find yourself running for your life from the living dead.
It's the best 'haunted house' you'll ever visit. Besides, who
doesn't want to live their own version of Dawn Of The
The Mall costs £130 and full details can be found here: