Realscape Productions’ Darkfield is something that I’ve never experienced before. On paper it sounds truly terrifying, and honestly, it kind of is.
The experience occurs in four different shipping containers. The darkness that happens is unlike any darkness you’ve experienced before, and you can’t even see your hand in front of you in the dark. There are four experiences available: Seance, Flight, Coma, and Eulogy. I’m a bad flyer when it comes to aeroplanes, so I was advised it was best to give Flight a miss. But the others were incredible.
The containers that you enter are completely fleshed out to match the theme of each experience. When I entered each container, I noticed the attention to detail, and given that I’d be in complete darkness for the next 30 minutes, it’s really a credit to the creators.
Seance was my favourite of the three that I witnessed. The container is designed to look like a room you’d see in a ghost story, a long table with candelabra and red velvet seats. As a horror movie fan, I could very much appreciate the design choices. As with the other experiences, you’re given two chances to leave, once when you’re in the container and then again when the lights are turned off. You’re then instructed to place your headphones on, listen for a noise to ensure you have the headphones on the correct way, and then the lights go out for good.
The way that sound has been designed to enrich the experiences is outstanding. This is a 360 audio experience, where you can hear voices talking into each ear, and the sound of footsteps of a person walking away or towards you, which is so impressive and eerily unsettling.
This isn’t just an audio experience, you can feel gusts of air when the audio says so, you can smell things as the audio says you will, and this all has you questioning your reality. Is your mind playing tricks on you, or are these additional features?
I’ve mentioned how rounded the experiences are, as well the incredible amount of detail and effort put into them. Coma is a perfect example. During the session, you’re given a small pill that you can choose whether to take or not before you dive in. On each pill, the word ‘Coma’ has been written on them. Again, the attention to detail is top notch.
Eulogy is by far the most unique of the three, as it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience. The headphones given also have a microphone attached, and this is how you choose your path. Your answers must be either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but this just makes the experience more seamless. There was a moment when I felt incredibly isolated. Despite being surrounded by people, I felt like I had been abandoned. Seriously, this is something you have to witness for yourself, but I had never felt anything like it.
Going with a companion will allow you to discuss each other’s experiences, and it will also make you question further if what you experienced was a clever creation, or whether it was just your brain trying to comprehend what was happening. For Coma, my companion experienced different smells than I did, despite being in the same container at the same time. I highly recommend this experience for anyone that is curious, enjoys immersive experiences, but especially to those who love a good thrill.
The experiences that Darkfield gave me was unlike anything I’ve ever known. I’m still finding myself questioning what was real, what was not, and whether my mind was being tricked. But that is the brilliance of Darkfield, which will stick with you long after you’ve left the containers.
Darkfield will be in Melbourne until the 31st of July. It will then visit Brisbane and Sydney later in the year, with yet to be announced dates.
For more information and ticketing, visit: https://www.darkfield.com.au