Aly and I paid a visit to the brand spanking new Dead End Hotel in Shepherdsville. We were hyped up about this brand spanking new attraction that seems to be brought to you by the creators of Nightmare Forest. Now, I admittedly haven't been to Nightmare Forest in quite some time, but from what I remember, it was a pretty good scare, so I was really excited about this new haunt. [Aly says: I thought Ash was going to pee herself when she realized we were going to the Dead End Hotel. She was PSYCHED!]
Sadly, it didn't live up to its creators reputation.
We arrived and there was far from crowded, so we were hoping for a similar experience as the previous haunt we'd visited. It was located in the same location as a haunt we'd visited several years back, and had sworn to never return to, although back then it was some kind of trail or something. It was not exciting enough to remember.
So, we again kept an open mind, especially after the big surprise from the other haunt. Here's how it went.
The Set Design
This place is called the Dead End Hotel, but calling the layout anything remotely resembling a hotel would be a stretch for any imagination. There was no flow to the haunt, most of the rooms were too dark to see any details, there were, like, three dining rooms and two bar areas, one bathroom, I think there was a bedroom somewhere, but it was very hard to tell, one room was just a guy shoving books off a shelf, it was hard to tell which way we were supposed to go, there were numerous times where I nearly faceplanted because there was no indication of a step up or down from one room to the next, and at the very end, two guys not in any costume or anything were waiting to shine a light down the back steps to exit. This wasn't a hotel, it was a trainwreck.
The actors I'll give some credit, because they did honestly try, though some of them needed some extra acting lessons. Two guys actually scared me, one of which popped out and nearly grabbed my ankle when I wasn't expecting it, and one guy popped out of a wall (which I kinda saw coming) but the speed and agility of this guy was phenomenal. He must have been a ninja or Jedi or gymnast...there's no way he should have moved that fast and hopped up on the bar (counter? Table?) in one terrifying leap. He wanted my soul...thankfully Aly told him I didn't have one. I admitted to selling it for chocolate, and climbed the steps.
The Scare Factor
I'm torn here. Yes, we screamed a few times, and that made the haunt a little scarier than the first one, but it was 100% shock value and the "Boo" factor. There was no real fear, partially because the rooms-while being a total mess-were completely predictable. You could see the people getting ready to jump out at you, it was in obvious places and at obvious times, and every single room had a jumper, leaving no time to build anticipation for the next scare. I even started calling out which figures were going to pop out, which ones were dummies, and I wasn't in least bit frightened by anything, just startled a few times. Oh, and I have to point out that when the chainsaw guy chases "victims" out of the haunt and back to the line again, we kinda know where you are, and when the guys upstairs are shining lights down your way, we can totally see you as we head down the steps. There was absolutely zero surprise factor or scare factor with the chainsaw guy. Now, I'm not normally afraid of chainsaws anyway, but Aly gets a little skittish, and we just sauntered out of the gate with the chainsaw guy walking behind us, bored and disappointed.
We stood in line for twenty minutes for a ten minute lackluster performance in a barely used section of the building that didn't elicit any real fear from anyone in our group. The best part about this haunt was the awesome duo we met standing in line that we adopted into our group. The only redeeming quality about this haunt was the effort of some of the actors and a few startles. I took into account it was opening weekend and may need to work out some kinks, but something these guys either failed to realize or undervalued the importance of is that on opening weekend, you need to bring your A-Game. You cannot-I repeat, CANNOT-fake your way through a haunted house or half-ass it. I know of a couple of haunts that in their first year nearly made me piss my pants, so this disappointing haunt has no excuses for why-on opening weekend-they failed to elicit any degree of fear from the victims.
I honestly feel I'm being generous with my score. I wanted so badly to enjoy this haunt and give it a good score, but if I'm being perfectly honest, I won't return. Ever. This is the second haunt on this property that has failed to be scary, and even if it is part of Danger Run in the future, I will bypass this haunt and complain to Danger Run about their low standards in choosing a haunt. I'll give them this year, because they had no way of knowing how horribly this would suck. But neither I nor Aly will be returning. You're welcome to disagree with me, and I hope you have a better experience than we did, but we give this a 2 star, only for the sake of the actors.
I really and truly hate giving a score this low. But it took ten minutes (maybe even less, it was super quick) and had there been a lengthy wait, this would be a horrible experience. As it stands, it was just a waste of a half hour that we won't repeat, and it kind of makes me leery about visiting Nightmare Forest now. If they're backing things like this, what new lows have they themselves reached? It's sad, really. There was such potential, and they completely missed the target in every possible way. Better luck in the future, Dead End (Not A) Hotel.
Aly's Two Cents
Seriously. It started with two guys smoking cigarettes leaning against the building at the entrance to the line... classy! The line wasn't too long. Both a good and bad sign, but it is Shepherdsville. Quiet town... While standing in line you can hear how the haunt ends... typical chainsaw "chasing" you... That doesn't scare me anymore... The guy did have a really cool ghillie suit though. And he said thank you when I told him. I was confused by the progression of rooms though. And that's a detail I just couldn't get over... The rooms were crowded and at one point we had no idea where to go. I had to ask a character throwing books to throw a book in the direction we were supposed to go and that worked. There were a lot of random steps that weren't marked and Ashley has bad balance as it is... so she almost fell... a lot... very dangerous. (Really, she falls when sitting down.) It did turn into a fun game when we tried to point out the characters before they attempted to scare us. It worked in most rooms. The only two fun rooms were where the guy surprised Ash and then the guy who was like a spider monkey. Kudos to that kid!
Overall, I would probably stay home. I think it took us longer to drive to Mt. Washington than it took us to get through the haunt. There's a happy medium between "I'm never getting out of this haunt!" and "Wait, was that it?" This was not worth money in my opinion. Two stars only because the two actors scared us and ghillie suit was pretty cool.