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Panok

Panok's Final Thoughts on the Houses.

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So, to review HHN23 Houses after attending every night for the first 3 weeks...

To review it I guess I have to also look at my most anticipated houses prior to attending... really gives a feel as to why I was so amazed and yet disappointed with some of the houses.

1. AwiL

2. Resident Evil

3. La Llorona

4. Havoc 2

5. Afterlife

6. Cabin in the Woods

7. Evil Dead

8. The Walking Dead

So, to the review In order of almost perfect to worst house ever been through and whatever crops up in-between:

1.AWiL

When I first went through this house on opening night... I didn't quite get what just happened. The 0 Scareactors in the opening to the moors being just pitch black as the first scene wasn’t operating apparently and the person in front shouting out his Scareactor friends names all the way through just made for one hell of a disappointing experience and felt cheated.

Now to the second night... This has always been the “second chance night” where we make sure we revisit all of the houses that weren't as good as we had hoped on opening night but maybe got caught in a cast change or just a bad night... This house was insane! The scares were flawless even though many weren’t direct scares the wolves reset so fast it keeps the heart pounding as I never wanted to be on the receiving end of a scare from one of those bad boys coming at you.

The Scareactors were just exceptional (especially the one who makes throwing herself out of a big red bus an art form), the design was flawless from start to finish.

A perfect house? Almost. Better than Winters Night? Maybe not. My House of the Year? Frack Yeh!

10/10

2.La Llorona

This house was amazing and a bit of a wild-card when it came to what we were expecting from it. We saw all of the videos from Hollywood and read all of the lore with regards to the legend and nothing, not a single darn thing prepared us for this house.

I've always been a big fan of rooms where actors and dummies are staring at a central location away from you and to open up into one of those had my back up right from the off. Everything thereafter felt so incredibly cramped and closed in that I didn't know where to look until BAM she is in your face. “Wow isnt this a pretty water effect scene... wait are they kids in that...” BAM “AARRGGHH oh just over the bridge oh there she is up there shudderBAM “ARRGGHHHHHHHHHH”

Now I know the water plunging scene and what came after has had a bit of bad press but I defecated enough bricks after that scene to build a 3 story bungalow. The mirrors are well placed the corridor one multiple runs left we with Scareactors hunting me down on both sides leaving what felt like no escape. The only downside to the house was the end, I felt like there was one scene left in it they forgot to do which after such an amazing experience every time we went through always felt like a bit of a kick in the balls.

9/10 (if the ending was perfect it could have been my House of the Year but it wasn't to be)

3.Cabin in the Woods

An excellent house and one which I wasn't expecting much from. The set was stunning from beginning to end (a common theme for this year in general) and quite true to the movie.

I’m glad there was a queue movie but still didn’t do enough to explain the film and the premise of the house... plus it was in such a stupid place 9 times out of 10 I couldn't hear it or the queue was moving fast to not have time to pay any attention to it.

I loved the details and the nods to everything I could possibly have geeked out over this film I left feeling very fulfilled that id experienced the movie. But there were occasions the scares were just not there or I wanted some more. I was by no means disappointed that the unicorn was on a screen but was that the merman was just a lifeless blob half the time. The elevators just took far FAR too long to reset as on many occasions the doors had just closed as I entered the room and then were opening way after I had left but when you hit that room just right it was brutal! Plus.. gore GORE GGOORREE!!

So the house has plus points and negative points but still miles and miles above many of the houses last year!

8/10

4.Evil Dead

Now... to our most inconsistent house of the year. Opening night we were flawed by this house especially after our initial run through of AwiL. It had the scares, the pace, sets, the atmosphere it was truly stunning. Then the second time through the first 3 possibly 4 scenes were totally empty absolutely void of any Scareactors and even after that scares were few and far between so epic cast change from hell. Was funny seeing the cellar door staying open on its own though.

Now we try not to let cast changes impact how we see a house as, well, it happens and these guys need their rest so we just queue up again another time all is well. But then I remember it going from good to bad to mediocre to insane to trash night to night to night which left us very confused about the house. Even though we had a couple of stunning runs the bad times unfortunately started to get frustrating as we knew it can and HAS been better.

8/10

5.The Walking Dead

Expectations were rock bottom for this house based on last years effort and I was going in with that in mind so that I would leave either not disappointed or thrilled. I came out close to thrilled and if the houses on the top half of my list weren't so stunning this could have been a little higher (not top but just higher).

There were some pretty solid scares in here and very VERY well placed but what happened in the Evil Dead house night to night happened in this house during each visit. A very dull and lackluster opening to an incredible prison scene then lackluster again to good exit (on occasion) The number of times we got caught buy the final scene resetting it felt like we just walked out without a finale. But each week the ending seemed to get worse the strobe effect got less the noises quieter and the walkers less aggressive which sucked as I enjoyed it first weekend.

All in all it was much better than last year and although not spectacular and a little better than average its not something I ever want to return... EVER... Its done now universal... Please... DONE!

6/10

6.Havoc 2

This might be low down on my list but I did enjoy it for what it was. A very short house with people trying to recreate the magic of a house which was possibly a fluke due to its Scareactors' determination.

I wanted energy, I wanted to feel like I was running from these guys and gals, I wanted to feel like they were bipolar...... What I got was a wet fish and a feather duster opening weekend to sticks and stones by the time we left. It was without doubt our most improved house. Energy levels got better and better and the female Scareactors got some stunning scares out of us more so than the huge men. The lady in the cage just before the crash scene... if you get her following you its lights out at the end, LOVE IT!

After the crash there is the the stunning set with the train derailment but then after that what I thought was the weakest sets (next to afterlife), a bit of black MDF with some green over it wasnt great when the ending was so bright (but always true of the Disaster queue).

As I say, it got better and better and id love to do it again now that its getting to the end to see even more improvements made im sure. The actors did a great job at being up close and personal in the first 3 sets but was too hit and miss towards the end when the energy needed to be through the roof to contend with the open spaces and daylight.

4/10 (it was a hell of a lot worse opening weekend)

7.Afterlife

Towards the end of the 3 Week run we had this quickly became a “Not bothered if we didn't see it again” house. After the first 4 runs we got out of it all we possibly could do without needing more.

Compared to previous 3D houses this just seemed to lack the charm and details which made a house like In-between so great. It had a good room at the beginning of the run with the mirrors and bodies dangling which got lighter and lighter until all sense of disorientation had gone completely (and it was a favourite room at the start). It also had some great effects at the end with the victims getting revenge and stabbing him was cool... REALLY cool... BUT it was just those two just plonked in a huge room without a care or thought, something which didn't just happen at the end but all the way through. Another example is the corridor in the middle with a Scareactor on the right... it was just a guy there... just like we had a spare actor where shall we put him.... hmmmmmmm.... THERE! DONE! House complete!

The story was great, really great idea that didn't come across in the house if you hadnt read up about it previously. I had to explain to a number of friends what the hell happened.

However... the music was awesome at the entrance. Picking some Cash songs that got released after he died, so Afterlife was a nice touch.

2/10 (Wanting to stay outside and listen to Johnny Cash more than enter the house is a sign)

8.Resident Evil

Our most consistent house of the year! (Not in a good way)

As a walk through set tour this house was BEAUTIFUL! A true work of art and from what must have been from a fan of the games. My hat goes off to the set designers for this one it was amazing! I would have loved to have run around all day in here playing Nemesis like a grown up play space!

… … … But …..... … …...............

As a HHN house, it was total trash and I wanted it to be good I really REALLY did. When it was announced I got giddy! It was the perfect end to what I would have considered a very very solid line up but it just didnt deliver. Ive seen and heard people pass this off as the comedy house, best improved house, amazing house because of the sets, the beginning is just set up for the final scene so on and so forth. We all want this house to be spectacular but making excuses for it means its painfully flawed. I remember every single scene in this house from start to finish because I was so heartbroken in each room with how little it made me feel like I was playing the game. The game makes you dread looking around the corner knowing you dont have much life left and then you hear the munching and sloppy footsteps and you run like hell... Here, I just wanted to leave and queue for AwiL.

The Scareactors did a great job with what they had and I applaud you for giving it your all in something so flawed but the scares just weren’t there for me I’m sorry, and I do scare easy. I always grab onto my partners shirt when going through but by the first nemesis scene, id let go and just took in the surroundings.

It tried to get better by the time we left a few Scareactors here and here added the barrel room the guy stopped pacing and tried to scare at the door. The pause room became what it should have been from the start but the Scareactor felt so out of place in a falling from a building scene it was just painful to see. The Laundry became scary for the fact I almost got punched in the face by the dog not because of it being scary (which we ended up nicknaming Mr. Bitey as it reminded us of a sock puppet) Plus you could see the Scareactor plain as day through the laundry which removed an mystique from that scene. All of this wasnt enough... Drives me crazy to say it but the worst Haunted House ive ever been through, ever.

0.5/10 (They tried to polish a turd but they just ended up getting dirtier)

Theres my thoughts... opinions, as you will. MY first time writing them down and hope you like them.

Here's to a Walking Dead FREE year next year.... (I hope)

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