It's Friday night. A fine mix of Canberrans file into Limelight's 204-person-seat movie theatre. Some sport tuxedos and wigs, but almost everyone carries a hearty supply of plastic spoons.
We're all here for the 15th anniversary screening of so-bad-it's-good cult film The Room.
"It's the best turnout we've had for one of these events so far," says Limelight Cinemas general manager Michael Singh.
"It's been challenging for Limelight in the age of Netflix and Stan, when everyone has entertainment at their fingertips. But with The Room, you can't get this sort of atmosphere, the vibrance and energy, if you watch it at home."
Canberra isn't the only city where The Room attracts this sort of turnout. Since the film's 2003 release, it still draws fans at screenings all over the world. A Golden Globe-winning film was even made in its honour.
Think Sharknado, Plan 9 From Outer Space or most of Nicolas Cage's filmography; it's another movie adored simply for being hot, hot garbage. Except with The Room, things tend to get a lot more interactive.
During the Limelight screening, we're all given a sheet of "audience participation guidelines".
The opening credits roll. Even for those who've watched the film before, you can't help but see "Starring Tommy Wiseau", "Written by Tommy Wiseau", "Produced by Tommy Wiseau" and "Directed by Tommy Wiseau" absolutely blitz across the screen and get butterflies. That's the moment you know you're in for a good one, the fever dream of a true auteur.
This is the last quiet moment in the cinema. At the first glimpse of Wiseau, something unhinges deep inside of each member of the audience.
As per participation guidelines, viewers toss plastic spoons when the portrait of a spoon is shown on screen (this happens 16 times), chant "Go! Go! Go!" during several prolonged shots of the Golden Gate bridge and recreate the heaps macho football throwing scenes.
But it was during the sex scenes when the audience came alive.
During these tortuously drawn-out shots, we begin with a slow clap, culminating in rapid applause at climax. One audience member says: "Heterosexuality looks TIRING." Another yells: "Go for the jugular!"
If this year's A Quiet Place was the film where you couldn't make a sound in the cinema, The Room is the movie where it's weird if you didn't.
Watching The Room this time round, I realised it wasn't fair to call this movie simply "bad".
It's so enjoyable, so inherently watchable and surprising in its inability to form a coherent narrative or abide by the regular tenets of filmmaking that it's so good. It's entertainment at its guiltiest.
As the film plays on, surprises continue to unfurl.
It took the audience's jeers for me to notice that no doors in the film are ever closed, the spoon portrait on the dining table features enough to earn credit as a co-star and Wiseau's best bit of acting is when his character lies dead. (I tend to watch very closely for chest movements from corpse actors, so this speaks volumes.)
It's like re-watching Arrested Development and picking up on its intricate pop culture references. Or mining for easter eggs in the Back to the Future trilogy. With The Room, though, you can never be sure if Wiseau has made this film with any sort of awareness of what he was doing.
We're all thinking it: is he in on the joke? And I suspect that's part of why we all showed up, why the film still has this enduring appeal 15 years on.
An interactive screening of The Room is an experience not to be missed. Such events are true testimony to the "artists" blissfully delusional enough to give their work a crack, and the legends, the audiences, who rally around them.