Warning: This item includes scream VI spoilers
I love going to the theater. I mean, who doesn’t? The chance to see a great horror movie on the biggest screen possible is one of life’s simpler pleasures. And now there are tons of options for watching your movie, like RealD 3D, Dolby, IMAX, and Laser Projection. Premium formats, they call them, and I I have experienced almost every format out there.
But one in particular always eluded me for various reasons: 4DX.
What exactly is 4DX?
4DX is a premium format that allows movies to be projected with various practical effects such as rain, wind, strobes, and moving seats. The goal is to fully immerse the audience in the film, and the effects allow recreations of various effects seen on screen. For example: a character standing in the rain on screen will cause water jets mounted on the back of each seat to disperse the water to recreate the effect (thankfully, users have the option to turn the water off), and attendees to the cinema they will feel all the adrenaline. -driven turn on last Fast and Furious movie when their seats move them from side to side.
Making its debut in South Korea in 2009, the format has seen steady deployment over the years, but has yet to be widely adopted. As of 2020, there are only about 32 locations in the US that are equipped with 4DX, 5 of which are on the West Coast.
But why scream VI?
You may think from the description above that only the biggest blockbusters make it to 4DX. After all, it seems like a lot of work is needed to get the effects and the movie in sync. So, an R-rated slasher movie isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of possible prospects for a movie to be shown this way. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was not only scream VI reaching this format but also living minutes away from a newly equipped cinema with 4DX technology!
Horror is no stranger to trickery in the theater-going experience. Perhaps the most famous example is William Castle and the strange tricks he used for his movies. Everything from an inflatable skeleton that bobbed around the theater during House on Haunted Hillto the electric shocks that would hit moviegoers when watching The tingle. With an increase in more interactive horror experiences like VR games or even fan experiences, I was curious if advancing technologies could work in the slasher genre.
So I did what any Shout Mega-fan would and went to a performance at 9:40 pm on a Wednesday night. For those curious, a 4DX ticket in Southern California currently costs $20.75 (almost double what I usually pay for my weekly trips to the theater). I walked into the theater and was greeted with seats divided into four like a theme park attraction, and absolutely crammed with electronics. Visible on the seats are water and air jets positioned both in front of and behind the spectators. The seats also appear to be on elevators and have footrests with a single rubber tube sticking out of the bottom that people call “the tickler,” which activates at certain times. Along the upper edges of the theater are huge wall-mounted fans that are the source of the wind effects.
I wasn’t sure what to expect until a 4DX trailer started up and the seats started to rise; I was thrown back and forth, flashing strobes and all. Things were getting interesting.
Ok enough about technology! tell us how scream VI it’s in 4DX!
scream VI is tremendously entertaining in 4DX! Meeting scream VI being a bigger movie than previous installments with more settings and emotions than the series usually has. For example, early on from the bloody opening sequence with Samara Weaving’s character Laura being brutally murdered, the seat shakes violently with every stabbing movement. When blood appears on screen, the water jets shoot out a burst of water that mimics splashing blood, and when characters use firearms, strobe lights turn on to mimic muzzle flash. Hell, the “tickle” is even used when Sam uses a taser on a jerk partygoer.
But perhaps the best uses of the format are in the infamous “ladder” sequence in which Devyn Nekoda’s Anika is thrown violently to her death from the top of Sam and Tara’s apartment. The seats imitated the violent movement up and down the staircase and the wind fans were on full blast, presenting you in a way that convinced me I was standing outside in the cold air. It was tremendously immersive and less distracting than I thought it would be. The subway scene is also highlighted with constant vibrations as the train travels down the tracks.
The subway scene also used the strobes to good effect, using them to match the lighting in the scene and adding tension to everything. Although probably not the best way to see it for the first time, scream VI in 4DX it is a joy. Especially for the returning fans eager to see her again.
Horror is a versatile genre. In a slick theatrical setting that feels like a theme park ride at times, a wild slasher movie like scream VI it can be nice as hell. I will always be happy to see this film again, but the memory of experiencing it in 4DX and being fully immersed in the moment will always stay with me. I wish William Castle was around to see it.
You can read Meagan Navarro’s scream VI check here.