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The Most Pretentious Review You Will Read of Black Mirror Labyrinth


Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
In 1994, French sociologist Jean Baudrillard commented that "we live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning."

And in 2021, the Black Mirror Labyrinth opened to illustrate this dangerous dichotomy to the theme park dwelling masses. (Whilst in the corner stood Banksy. Banksy "theme parks need to have bigger themes" Banksy. He's all red faced and embarrassed, with dismantled bits of Dismaland scattered at his feet)

The main argument put forth by Baudrillard in his 1981 classic "Simulacra and Simulation" is that nothing in our culture is “real” in the true sense of the word.

Everything that we consider real is simply a “simulacra” - a representation or copy where the original no longer exists. Like a statue of a dead person, or a photocopy of a photocopy, a map of a fictional place....or an avatar of a photo of your own face distorting on the huge screen walls of the Black Mirror Labyrinth. You are the attraction. But attractions by their very nature aren't "real." They are alternate worlds.

Why is this avatar of you so powerful? Because the digitised self has always been means of self control. The allure of social media is being able to edit your representation of self down to the things you consider preferable.

Here, in BML, we are greeted with a photo on a screen that looks like you, but behaves differently. The mouth and eyes gape with distorted red light. It moves. It repeatedly contorts in pain. It screams. It is not your good side. It's not how you wish to see yourself. And you have relinquished all control of your image. Your simulacra now proceeds before you, and you are left helpless at the mercy of Artificial Intelligence.

How this attraction has managed to create a physical actualisation of an abstract sociological concept such as simulacra blows my mind.

The attraction begins softly, with photos of cats and pretty lights, gently reminding us of how we volunteer personal data so willingly via social media. But hey, what's the harm in that?

Then we are greeted in the second room by an anthropomorphized Artifial Intelligence: it speaks, it has a face, it says your name.

Hypnotic patterns surround you on mirrors and screens, representing the hypnotised state that technology induces us into.

Then it all starts to go a bit wrong. The AI wants to delete us. Of course, because a simulcra cannot exist with its original copy, right!

Cue: panic. Countdowns begin, the soundtrack builds frenetically, we must escape the all-seeing, all-knowing AI...it has grown too powerful.

But how did it get so powerful? Us. We are to blame. We fed this beast with selfies and tweets and Amazon wishlists. This is the powerful point in the maze where you are continually met with your own reflection. It's a tightly bound section of dead end mirrors that feed you back to your own screaming avatar. Again. And again. And again. "Look at yourself. Reflect on THIS" - instructs the overwhelming layout.

Mirrors shatter, strobes flare up, it's a complete assault on the senses. You are lost. The AI is shouting about how worthless you are. You stare in the mirror, your image pixelates and fades to grey. Then text emblazons accross the screen "BLOCKED."

Now. These two words "blocked" and "deleted" carry so much weight in 2021. They will strike fear and helplessness into the heart of anyone who has ever been blocked and deleted by someone they care about. I don't know about you, but I fear "blocked and deleted" a lot more than I fear Freddy Kreuger.

This is another element where BML really hits hard: it raises very real concerns and anxieties and throws them back at you aggressively. It's not horror in the traditional sense of the word, but it sure is scary.

Scarier than Saw, scarier than The Walking Dead, scarier and far more psychological than Derren Browns Ghost Train. Because at the heart of all these smoke and mirrors lies some very believable concepts that force us to contemplate the negative ways technology may evolve.

TLDR: by placing guests in an environment as unsettling as the show itself, BML is a unique addition to Thorpe Park that is surprisingly profound.

I mean, for comparrison, what is the meaning of Stealth? Launch + Top Hat = Good.

It's nice to see a theme park raise the bar and add something that's more like an interactive art exhibition. If you like your attractions evocative and thought provoking, get on down to Thorpe and do this!

And that, my friends, is how to completely overanalyse a mirror maze! Coming next: Abandonment Issues: The Dystopia that is Oakwood Theme Park.


Giga Poster
The mos meta thing Black Mirror producers could do is to turn the attraction into an episode from the series! I am a big fan of the show and I think the theme could very well translate into TV.

Maybe you can't polish a tud, but you can apply some Instagram filters to it. Thank you, @Serena !