Last week, an experiential screening of It Comes At Night was held in the woods, just east of Austin, TX. The movie takes place at some undefined point in the post-apocalyptic future and is also set deep in the woods. The effect of watching this particular movie in this particular setting is exactly the sort of foreboding, immersive experience that the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow is known for. It appealed to me on every level.
Attendees gathered together at sunset and were loaded onto a series of school busses that took us about 40 miles east of town. The Alamo staff wore gas masks, and, in muffled voices, instructed us to put on surgical masks that had been handed out prior. As we climbed aboard, we were told that each bus had a letter, which was then written in sharpie on our wristbands.
Earlier that day, an email had given me a list of requirements for the event: no open-toed shoes, no shorts, some bug spray, and a warning: “Don’t approach any animal you happen to run across.” None of this seemed out of the ordinary. After all, this was the same crew that’s known for its Satanic-themed escape rooms and explosion-filled press junkets, so why wouldn’t there be some extra scares hidden along the way?
It wasn’t until we got closer to the location that things started to get weird in unexpected ways.