One of the few good things to come out of the global COVID situation has been the creation of more online experiences. We’ve been fortunate to do quite a few different innovative events and escape rooms, that normally we’d never have been able to do due to geography. Because of that, a few days ago, I was rudely awoken by my alarm far earlier in the morning than I’m used to so that I could take part in BL4KM4SS’ online event ‘3Y3’.

BL4KM4SS are a predominantly LA based group who offer immersive horror experiences that normally sit at the more extreme side of the scale. They announced that they were branching out to do a remote show and I had to take the opportunity to experience it firsthand despite the time zone differences. Since this was my first BL4KM4SS event, I had to fill in a questionnaire as an application form for consideration to become a member. Thankfully it was approved and I managed to get one of the last few spots for ‘3Y3’.

Despite the title of the show, I was going in pretty much blind and really had no idea what to expect and since this will be a spoiler free review, there’s not going to be much about the specific details of the shows content. That said, the bulk of it is held over an hour long Zoom call, with some personal interaction conducted privately over social media. I was one of three guests for the call and we were joined by many more actors.

The inevitable anxiousness that comes with not knowing what to expect beforehand was quickly dissipated once the event started and the multiple actors interacted with each other, myself and the other guests. It was all done in a very natural way, especially so if you’ve ever been dragged in to a Zoom call with no real idea of why you’ve been roped in. As well as these natural interactions, the troupe ad-libbed really well responding amusingly to initial introductions and at other opportunities throughout the show.

The easy familiarity quickly went away as parts of the narrative started. The content was expectedly very disturbing pretty much from the start and it didn’t let up throughout. Some parts were pretty humorous, especially with the delivery from the actors, but are still very, very dark and the content may be triggering for some. During the Zoom call there are also more interactive elements to contend with as well, and these form a big part of the experience.

This mixture of active and passive parts worked well most of the time, but I’m not great at multi-tasking so felt that I missed some of the narrative, whilst I was focusing on the more active parts. Nothing damaging to the experience, more my FOMO of not being able to fully concentrate on everything going on at once. These interactions were some of the most challenging of the evening as there was larger sense of agency, and again with disturbing content. It genuinely felt that the decisions that I made here had at least an influence on future interactions, to the extent that I did ponder during and after the event what might have happened if I had responded differently, and more importantly should I have responded differently, were the decisions I was making the correct ones? Whether it would have made a difference I’ll never know and despite the previously mentioned FOMO, I enjoyed the ambiguity.  Eventually the hour on Zoom came to an abrupt end. Personally, I’d have preferred it to have not felt as rushed, but it fitted and worked well in the context of the events.

I really enjoyed my time with ‘3Y3’, though enjoyed is never quite the right word. It certainly provided something different, challenging, and for me, at times humorous. The entire premise fitted in exactly with the need to run the whole thing over Zoom. The numerous actors were all brilliant, very convincing and spot on. They interacted with each other and the guests in a very natural way and really sold the whole event with the challenging and dark content. Hats off to them and the rest of BL4KM4SS for producing a thrilling piece of virtual immersive horror, it was worth the very early wake up call for me, and if you can deal with that then it’s well worth checking out their future events.

Further details for BL4KM4SS can be found on their Instagram or Facebook pages.

Author: Steven