Dark View – Full Review

Dark View is a Haunted Attraction located in Toronto, OH.

2257 County Road 68, Toronto, OH 43964
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple Haunts1EscapeRoom1HauntedTrail


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Free Parking, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 17, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 8.58

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I must say this season has been an amazing season for the weather. Every weekend we have lucked out with dry weather that is not too cold. It was a perfect night for a walk on a ������ mile trail through the woods. Especially, when it is one of the best-designed trails we have seen this season.

Not everyone will enjoy this walk in the woods. You see there used to be a house on the property owned by the Gouchers. It mysteriously burned in the 1930s. According to the locals, the house was evil. The patriarch of the family burned the house down to protect his family but in doing so he unleashed the evil spirits onto the surrounding land. Now, these thickets are full of undead miscreants and the spirits of their victims. They are not keen on people wandering around. So make haste through these worrisome woods or you may be the next unfortunate souls that get fed to the pigs.

Cast: 9.03

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Dark View’s cast stood out to us. We thoroughly enjoyed their interaction and improvisation. They had some great characters that knew how to chitchat with guests while maintaining character. Their dialogue seemed honest and natural.

Our first main interaction was with Mikey the old man at the start of the trail. He spoke like an old hillbilly. Southern draw, rough voice, and no-nonsense. He explained the rules of the trail after reminding us to ‘back up! You’re closer than six feet.’ He couldn’t hear well and played a little game of repeat. He told us to ‘stick together’ don’t run’ and don’t touch his pumpkin.’ He continued telling us about his older uglier brother and a message he had for him. Oh, he was also missing a scarecrow. We continued on our way when my teammate saw a big scarecrow, he asked Mikey if that was it. Mikey replied ‘No I can see that one, genius!’ a few seconds later we heard him yell from the distance, ‘you’re not sticking together they gonna’ pick you guys off real easy.’

He was not the only actor with this kind of acting chops. We also had a great interaction with the pigman who told us the little piggy story, he used our largest teammate as ‘the piggy that ate roast beef and by the looks of it he ate it all’ it was a good laugh. He also got in my face and slowly walked around me stating ‘this little piggy went wee’wee’wee, all the way home’ in a sadistic voice. Quite unnerving.

We had another excellent improv moment with the ranger or troop leader. He provided a huge and ridiculous scare we will discuss later because we just have to. Just wait. He then showed us some things in his shack and joked about scaring our biggest member. We then commented that his troop leader outfit was a little creepy considering the late-night commercials regarding the boy scouts ‘issues’. He was quick to comment that ‘stranger danger rhymes with ‘ranger danger’ and ‘the best candy is chloroform.’

We did meet up with Mikey’s brother but we messed up the message we were supposed to send him. A ghoulish woman wanted us to give her the finger. An older lady provided an excellent monologue with some back and forth conversation. I also had a weird discussion with a woman carrying a banjo. She was either completely out of character or the best actress there. She was so open while we talked, asking how we were doing, and then she tried to play the twilight zone on her banjo. She was unsuccessful. She seemed tired and worn.

Not every character provided a one on one moment. They had plenty of actors ready to pounce on unsuspecting guests. A gravedigger was striking his shovel off the ground as visitors walked by. A female ghost, in the graveyard, screamed, so loud you could hear her voice echo throughout the whole wooded area. There were plenty of odd creatures in the catacombs and church area, growlers stalked around the woods, and jump scares were found behind trees, shacks, sheds, outhouses, and fireplaces. Just about anywhere a person could fit.

Before entering the zombie war setting, Boober, I think was her name? She gave us a little info on the story. We played a quick game of the hokey pokey before encountering some of the most realistic acting zombies we have seen in a haunt. They felt like they came right off of The Walking Dead sound stage.

We were initially concerned with the first two actors we encountered at first. We were not sure if their slapstick, over-the-top routine was supposed to be portrayed the way it was. However, it fit the narrative of the scene, and over-the-top was the correct angle to go. They did an awesome job!

We counted 32 characters this evening all providing various acts along the way. This is a respectable number but with the large backdrop, we would have liked to have seen some more actors. Regardless, the actors that night were awesome. Dark View does a delightful job of providing various styles of acting into its show.

Costuming: 8.13

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The costumes found throughout Dark View fall more on functional and practical than elaborate. Most of these ‘kin’ were in normal clothes, which fit the theme of backwoods brethren. Overalls, jeans, flannel shirts, I can’t deny the clothing looks authentic. Some of the gals had on very nice dresses that had a southern flair. The ranger costume and swat style costume was above the average standards.

A mix of masks and makeup were found on several characters. The pig mask looked complete but we have seen so many of them this season. We also saw a more creative mask that looked like it was made of wood. The disfigured mask on the ‘beer and titties’ man gave him an old inbred look. The burlap scarecrow mask was effective. Making that character appear less like a person and more like a prop. Makeup added to the ghostly appearance of some of the land roamers.

We enjoyed Mikey’s brother who appeared to be a living shadow. He had on a black shirt, black pants, a long black trench coat, black boots, a black hat, and a stretchy black fabric over his face. It was a cool effect.

Besides having the best acting zombies, they were also the best looking. The makeup looked flawless. I liked the detail of red around the eyes giving a sick look. Combined with the colored contacts it was a great overall effect. These zombies appeared diseased and not just dead, which was a nice change of pace.

Following more of a simplistic approach to costuming it is an effective one. Providing realism without anyone’s character feeling out of place.

Customer Service: 9.2

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This was an interesting drive. This was our third haunt of the evening and we have never been here before. Now I will say my GPS got us there but it picked the scariest route possible. The exit doesn’t even look like an exit, it is a driveway to an old mill area. Then it loops around further becoming more secluded. It felt like I was heading into a scene from Judgement Night. (Anyone? Emilio Estevez and Cuba Gooding Jr.?) Finally, you follow a narrow road that was pulled directly from every backwoods horror movie ever. After every scary movie I have seen that had me question why someone made a dumb decision to go down a creepy road, well, we get it now.

Once we made it, we checked in at the ticket booth. Everyone here is fabulous. Ticketing, line managers, zombie paintball, souvenirs, and the owners all were pleasant, professional, and funny. This is the second haunt we heard of having multigenerational staff and actors.

We found no safety issues beyond that of a normal haunted trail. Mikey told us to be careful and no running, because it can be slippery. The trail does go uphill and downhill but we did not notice any major issues, dips, or trip hazards.
Regarding COVID, masks are required by staff and guests, actors that are closer than 6 feet are wearing double masks, hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout the park, social distancing, limited touchpoints, and additional cleaning have all been implemented. With these precautions, we felt safe experiencing this haunt.

Atmosphere: 8

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As we pulled in fog was floating on the air, an outdoor movie screen was playing random clips and advertisements. We could see part of the cemetery from the parking lot. Music was pumping out from inside the midway area. It appears the new norm for haunts is to have a party vibe. I get it. It gives people something to do and it keeps energy levels high. However, it doesn’t always feel like a haunt. We did notice some songs that were closer to Halloween such as ‘Fun House’ by Pink and ‘The Time Warp’ from Rocky Horror Picture Show. It shows there was some thought in the musical choice. We also saw some line actors interacting with guests. We would have liked a little more spookiness.

Special Effects: 8.17

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Dark View does not quite live up to its name, sure some parts are dark, but we found the trail to be very illuminated. The lighting effects brought out the beauty of the trail while keeping it creepy. The blue and green lights accented the trees adding shadows and mystery. The cemetery felt realistic with stone graves and large mausoleums and lots of fog.
About 95 percent of the haunt is outdoors with a few small cabins or shacks to walk through. The stone tomb/church area was the most impressive. The stone was highly detailed and ornate. Our only complaint was it went by so quickly.
Sound effects and background music are found throughout the trail and change depending on the area. Deep rumbling, voices, wind, thunder, and other noises accompanied the passages. The actors also provide sounds with, yells, screams, ‘suey’s’ and more. As we were in the zombie area I could hear the music from the midway and it did pull me out of the immersion. I mean, as I walked past the zombies, maybe I did ‘jump to the left’ and then maybe I took a ‘step to the right. ‘ I certainly never put my hand on my hips.

Dark View has some nice props and animatronics but their main attraction is the actors. The props add to the scenes but are usually not the main focal point. Besides the first animatronic, which was quite a large piece, the talking skeleton, and the large pumpkin man, most of the props were modest.

We found the design of the military zone which housed the zombies very creative. The large outlook posts were made from wood roughly 20-30 feet tall, fire shot into the night sky, gunshots could be heard from inside. It provided a realistic World War feel inside that was very unique from most zombie encounters we’ve had. It brought me back to my Call of Duty Zombie days.

The overall design, accompanied with quality sound, realistic sets, the natural layout of the trail, and spectacular illumination, brings Dark View to life.

Theme: N/A

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I wouldn’t say Dark View follows any single theme as you encounter varying sets of scenes throughout. With a film crew, paranormal hotspots, consecrated grounds, cabins, voodoo, rednecks, and zombies, it is a mixed bag of shock.

Scare Factor: 8.52

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Dark View offers a vast assortment of scares for its clients. Along with entertaining banter and uncomfortable close-quarter pressure, previously mentioned, they offer some good screamers, chainsaw chases, jumps scarer’s, and zombies. These guys seem to appear and disappear behind trees. Some with chainsaws. Their timing is impeccable.

The funniest scare of the evening occurred as we were entering a shack. As our biggest member, Ray, walked through a person jumped out and yelled ‘jump scare!’ Ray jumped, caught off-guard. It was hysterical in fact in 25 years of haunts I do not think I have ever heard an actor say ‘jump scare.’ Poor Ray was the target several times that night by baddies hiding behind trees targeting him repeatedly.

I found the zombies to be the most petrifying of the evening. Their movements and mannerisms, if you can call them that, were on point with every zombie movie you have seen. The odd noises and growls mixed with the chomping and biting creeped me out.

An excellent mix of frights and great acting made this quite a scary evening.

Entertainment & Value: 8.98

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Tickets are $15 for general admission. VIP passes are $22. We clocked 30 minutes of actual haunt time which puts the minutes per dollar at 2 which is way above average.

They also offer zombie paintball/karaoke at an additional price. We each played 100 rounds. It is fun to shoot someone that can’t shoot back. They also have free live shows (we missed the escape artist), music, concessions, and a gift shop.

Dark View provides a haunt that leans toward interactive theater, but still has plenty of scares. Impactful scenery, lighting, design, and effects make this one of the most well-rounded haunts we have been to.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 8.1 out of 10

Alice – 10/10October 17, 2020
The best haunt I’ve ever been too! Don’t wanna spoil anything, check it out!

Ryan – 10/10October 13, 2018
Been going every year and it only gets better and bigger love all the interactions unlike any other …show more haunted house I’ve ever been to

Gregory – 10/10October 13, 2017
Will definitely be back in 2018!

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Past Awards

2020 Awards

Best Zombie (Given by: Team Houdini)

Funniest Scare (Given by: Team Houdini)

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