Every so often you come across a haunt that really chills you to the bone, eliciting nightmares for weeks on end - one that makes you not only question reality, but to question your own sanity.
This was not that experience.
Let's just start from the beginning. It was a rainy night, and the line was thankfully covered. The owner graciously upgraded our tickets to speed passes to allow us to bypass the line, which while it earned us a few nasty glares, it was incredibly appreciated considering the weather! We met with the owner and he even let us take a pic with him and his pet rat.
Okay, so we go inside, and having been there before I'm already expecting the first surprise as we approach the Devil, so I lead the way and then stand off to the side waiting for the "boo" moment. Okay, so the Devil? He was an ass. I mean, not that I expect the real Devil would be kindhearted and sweet or anything, but this guy asked me what I was doing hurrying into the room and then told me to go to the back of the line. Um. No. I paid for my ticket, I wanna get scared, I'm not going anywhere. So when I refused and kinda laughed at his efforts, he beckons these two little kids (and I mean, like, the oldest had to be no older than 8) and their family forward, thus putting the three of us in the back anyway. What the hell? I don't look for preferential treatment, but I expect to be scared and I expect to get my money's worth. I don't expect to be told where I get to be in the group, this isn't grade school and if I got there first, I deserve to be in the front.
So we start going through and rather than having actors and animatronics popping out and trying to scare the whole group, these jokers focus on the two little boys. I get that they figured they would be an easy scare, but if they'd taken the time to actually TRY to scare the other half of the group, they would have realized I'm a screamer and all three of us are easy scares. (Really! We're not that hard to scare!) Which means we got to walk along behind this group and watch them be assaulted by the monsters and actors. Great fun, really. I enjoy spending almost $20 to be not even amused.
Well, whatever, during some of the twists and turns our group managed to get in front again. Good, right? Oh, no, They STILL focus on the little boys, one of whom is screaming and crying in pure terror. He had to be like, five. Maybe six. FAR too young to even be allowed into a friggin haunted house, even if the parents are complete morons who either don't care about the kid's psychological welfare or are too stoned to realize how traumatizing this would be for him. So we don't get any scares. I think I screamed once, and I honestly think that was a fluke.
Where I WILL give props is to the Saw maze - that was tripping everyone up and there's the moment of pure horror when you think you've tried every path and can't get out. (Of course, we didn't reach that point because we caught up with at least one other group and we heard everyone else saying what they tried that didn't work, so we only had to try two doors before we found the way out.) But it was a nice design for the room itself. Just enough to make you afraid you'll never leave. Also, the props and scenes were pretty good, although admittedly there was a lot that didn't change over the years. We didn't get to visit last year and I remembered quite a bit from the year before.
Oh, and I have to mention the chainsaw guy at the end (everyone knows there's a chainsaw at the end, just about every haunt does it). So we're walking out, he comes out of the corner where we totally already saw him lurking since he didn't even try to hide, waddled along with us to just before the door leading out, then gave up and went back to his post. Even the little kids didn't get scared by him. Way to go, chainsaw guy, you win the award for most apathetic chainsaw guy ever.
There were a few things I liked. The all-too-short visit to the set of 13 Ghosts was pretty cool, but too brief. The Jackal was great, very realistic and probably the only character to really get up in our faces. I love Hellraiser and that scene wasn't TERRIBLE, although we didn't really get scared or even get to spend much time with the Cenobites. Oh, and the Vietnam guy with the metal plate? Exquisite acting, my good man!
So, we spend a good deal of money for a 7-11 minute walkthrough that didn't frighten us at all and we left feeling like we probably should've asked for a refund. I almost didn't have the heart to post this because I really hate giving bad scores, but I don't have it in me to lie or omit this review from my posts. It was a sad event, and we left brokenhearted at the experience.
3 out of 10 stars. Vietnam guy and the good props/decorations saved it from a 1. I was just so disappointed in this haunt, especially since I remember it being a good one from past experiences. I really hope this visit was just a bad night with cranky actors...