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  • Writer's pictureImmersive Rumours

Review: Bloodbath by Screamworks - An Immersive Horror Experience

Immersive Rumours received complimentary tickets to this experience and as such, are disclosing this information before our review. They have had no input in the below and all thoughts are our own.

Bloodbath is an immersive horror experience located in a secret location in Bethnal Green. It's been produced by ScreamWorks - a brand new name on the immersive theatre scene, and one we suspect we'll hear a lot more of in the near future. If this show is anything to go by, and their future plans are as ambitious as this show is, they'll soon hold the crown for having the most intense immersive shows in the city.


Bloodbath was an overwhelming, boundary-pushing, scary and intense experience, which goes far beyond anything else currently on offer in London. For some time, the capital has lacked any truly scary things to do (for theatre anyway..) so it's great to see that change with the arrival of Bloodbath. Prepare to have your personal space invaded, the limits of taste and decency pushed, and all of your possessions taken off you and literally thrown in a bin (but of course, you'll get everything back at the end!).

The show's story is a relatively simple one - you've been invited to visit the home of a real-life serial killer, and over the course of an hour you're piecing together the story of how he became who he is today and discovering what became of his numerous victims. We learn all this from chilling audio and video recordings, rummaging through the remains of his dilapidated home, and of course, hearing directly from the killer himself.

Upon arrival to the secret East London location, you're greeted with Missing posters for his latest victim, Jenny McPhearson. Last seen mere metres from where you're stood, her whereabouts have been unknown to the authorities for several weeks. Jack, our host for the evening, is keen to avoid prying eyes - earlier in the day we received an email from him with meeting instructions that made clear that he's trying to avoid 'those in positions of power' from getting in the way of his 'great plan'.

Missing poster for Jenny McPherson


After check-in, and signing the waiver that grants the organisers permission to verbally abuse, touch, shock, force feed and restrain us, we have sheets thrown over our heads and are escorted inside. The reactions of those in the nearby petrol station forecourt are unknown to us, but it's no doubt quite the sight for passers-by.


Unsurprisingly for an immersive horror show, the experience is linear and see's us moving from room to room over the course of the next hour. At first it's a gentle easing into the story as we're free to explore several rooms of Jack's house without interruption - learning more about the family history and the current state of affairs for Jack, his brother Abel and their mother, Grace. Through the walls we repeatedly hear loud banging and screaming - muffled voices and shrieks that leave us unsure if it's other guests genuinely fearing for their lives, or just the actors trying to scare the life out of them.


Bloodbath is a show that seems to revel in taboo and voyeurism. With the whole world seemingly obsessed with true crime and real life murders, the show feels like a natural progression of our collective fascination with the grizzly stories you can hear on any of the hundreds of true crime podcasts available online. The show is inviting us to see what being in one of those stories would be like, and at points makes us complicit in what's happening to those around us.


Photo: ScreamWorks


A sequence mid-way through the show allows the audience to engage directly with the idea of pain as entertainment, inviting us to directly inflict it upon a helpless woman behind a glass screen. There's an anonymity afforded to audience members by the white cloth masks they wear for large parts of the experience. It encourages us to be worse versions of ourselves when given the chance.


The small cast of actors we meet throughout all manage to perfectly flip between being darkly comic and genuinely scary. Abel, who we meet early on in the show, is a warm and welcoming psychopath who later turns into a terrifying Leatherface-esque figure, causing us to literally climb and crawl for our lives.


Photo: Screamworks

There are personal touches throughout the experience that made us truly feel like guests of a serial killer, rather than just a visitor to a show. These included photos of our party lifted from our social media accounts defaced and pinned to the walls, our names scrawled in blood on the bathroom mirror, and consistently being referred to by name - despite never having introduced ourselves.

Nearly every one of the points raised in the waiver before we entered happened to either all, or some of us. Your comfort level with these kinds of things is going to vary from group to group, but we feel it's worth noting that if your group is a mix of genders, the female guests may be on the receiving end of the most uncomfortable interactions - or at least that was our experience when we visited.


Photo: Screamworks


While this might all sound quite heavy, overall Bloodbath is as much a psychological thriller as it is a traditional horror experience. It's not 60 minutes of jump scares and being grabbed, and you'll likely come out having had as many fun moments as scary. Our group all walked away saying we had an amazing time, and we'd definitely be back for whatever ScreamWorks have cooking up next.


We would highly recommend reading the Consent page on the ScreamWorks website before booking, so you're able to get a better understanding of what you're letting yourself in for. You can of course revoke your permission for any of these things to happen to you at any time by using the safe word or action.


Not for the faint of heart, Bloodbath is a killer night out for those looking to push themselves outside of their comfort zones.


★★★★¼

 

Bloodbath is located at a secret location in Bethnal Green, East London. The show is currently running until the end of May 2023. Tickets are available through screamworks.co.uk, with prices starting at £45 per person. Thank you to Jack and the team at ScreamWorks for inviting us to experience the show.

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