Black Market Barracks: Private Hell
- Henry Northmore
- 12 October 2017
Can you escape the infected at this pop-up horror experience in the heart of Edinburgh?
Black Market Barracks has been transformed into Private Hell, an immersive horror experience running until Halloween. The basic premise is that a fungal infection has poisoned residents of Edinburgh and turned them into violent madmen. The afflicted have been corralled into a containment facility above Waverley Station. Once you enter the Black Market Barracks a mad scientist type guides you through the warren of rooms and corridors as you attempt to avoid the deranged victims. It's an interactive experience, so expect to be assessed and questioned about your own physical and mental well being.
The whole thing takes about 20 minutes and they can accommodate groups of up to 15 as you weave your way through the dark. It feels like being dragged onto a film set with a World War II theme, drawing on imagery from Hammer Horror, 28 Days Later and The Shining. The actors are solid and fully committed to their roles, particularly the doctor and a beleaguered Colonel you meet towards the end. The upstairs area is far larger than you'd imagine, it's disorientating as they keep you moving from room to room, doubling back on yourself at times, then suddenly finding yourself in a new area with yet another hidden horror lurking in the shadows.
It's an unnerving experience, building the tension and keeping you off balance. The sense of anticipation is sometimes more effective than the reality. But that's exactly where Private Hell excels as you enter each room your eyes scanning every dark corner for some kind of nasty ready to pounce. You can't spot them all and there are some devilishly good jump scares.
Private Hell perhaps needs a bigger pay off, a final jolt to the senses before they release you trembling back into the real world. Just like a classic ghost train ride it's fun and frightening, silly and spooky, in equal measure and should get your heart pumping …
Black Market Barracks: Private Hell, Edinburgh, until 31 Oct.