BLACKOUT, created by Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor, first opened its doors at New York City’s Vortex Theater in 2009, and has since become one of the most well-known immersive horror experiences in the world.
On July 22nd, 2016, a horror documentary, The Blackout Experiments, was released to the public, providing viewers with a unique inside look. Later that same day, I rented it on Amazon Video, despite its criticism.
The Blackout Experiments follows the lives of BLACKOUT participants over the course of several years, allowing viewers to watch as they attend multiple events that seemingly have a significant impact on their lives.
Although not much of the events themselves is shown throughout the film, there is enough footage for one to determine if attending BLACKOUT would be worth it to the viewer.
Regardless, the real objective of the film is to show just how much the event influences the participants whose experiences are being documented, which was rather effective.
Having previously researched BLACKOUT, I had some prior knowledge of the event and what to expect, and The Blackout Experiments provided me with further insight regarding the events themselves and the effects that they have on some participants.
Furthermore, viewers have the opportunity to learn about a small group of people due to the film’s overall narrow focus, which made the documentary much more valuable than if its focus was broad and/or on the event’s two creators.
Speaking of the event’s creators, both Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor are barely featured in the film.
I would have liked to see a little bit more of them; however, I felt that their absence from the majority of the film and the lack of information surrounding the elusive duo added to the film’s atmosphere and kept the viewer’s focus where it was intended to be.
That being said, the small number of scenes that featured them were still somewhat informative to the audience, providing viewers with some behind-the-scenes footage of the event’s creation.
Moving past the event’s two creators and the behind-the-scenes footage, The Blackout Experiments takes a particularly dark and surprising turn toward its conclusion, when the horror documentary reveals just how personal BLACKOUT can become if participants are willing to consent.
By the film’s conclusion, viewers are better able to comprehend just how far some participants will go, in addition to the limits set by the creators.
Regardless of one’s personal opinions and willingness to participate in events similar in content to what is briefly shown in the film, The Blackout Experiments has something valuable to offer that, as of its official release, can’t really be found elsewhere.
For those interested in BLACKOUT and/or immersive horror experiences in general, I highly recommend watching this film. For those who are looking for a “scary movie” rather than one that expands upon some disturbing realities, look elsewhere.
Pumpkin Rating & Conclusion
4 / 5 Pumpkins
The Blackout Experiments provided some valuable insight into the dark and often sadistic world of BLACKOUT, though it would have benefited from more of a balanced focus on each of the featured participants.