Distracted Haunted House – Full Review
Distracted Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Bowling Green, OH.
1234 Main Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Special Events, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction
This attraction was reviewed on October 6, 2023 by Team Cleaverland.
About Our Reviews and Rating System
Final Score: 8.64
Final Scores – By Category
Final Scores – By Attraction
Distracted Haunted House’s theme this year is ‘Fear Living Nightmares.’ Now in its seventh season, Distracted’s very own demon-possessed teen, Lucy –- who’s been around from the beginning –- is serving up and dishing out people’s own worst fears to them.
The last time we were here, which was also the first time, we really enjoyed the terrific sets and effects, fantastic costuming, and spirited cast. We got more of the same this time, plus it was a helluva lot scarier.
The intensity level got ratcheted way up all the way through. It was fun, but also more of a heart-pounding endurance test of high-impact frights. We felt pretty shell shocked at the end.
So yeah, we survived the surreal hellscapes lurking inside the milquetoast environs of a suburban mall. Fear living nightmares indeed. You did a damn fine job this season, Distracted!
Cast Score: 8.5
Cast Scores – By Question
Cast Scores – By Attraction
The inspired cast made their impression felt every step of the way. Some were full-on assault screamers, others chatted with us calmly about quite insane things. Spider people crawled in thick webbing over our heads. Many of the actors demonstrated a keen ability to move in ways that appeared inhuman or otherworldly.
They invited us to pet rabbits, duck under an acrobat spreadeagled above us between two railings, and warble along to an enthusiastic and very off-key version of ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.’ To sum up, we encountered a skilled, unpredictable cast of characters that made us feel like we had no idea what was coming next.
We should note that no two nights are the same at Distracted, as charity groups come into the haunt on different evenings to supplement the regular cast.
Costuming Score: 8.84
Costuming Scores – By Question
Costuming Scores – By Attraction
No question, Distracted knows what it’s doing when it comes to dressing up its creatures. They knocked our socks off the first time we visited, and whacked it out of the park again this time around.
We quickly became overwhelmed by so many awesomely horrific looks happening: a scarecrow being that wore a towering top hat pulled down over its forehead with eye holes just above the brim; a horned, fanged kabuki demon with a third eye jutting out of its forehead; little spider people with eight eyes; a burly man dressed as the nun character; what we believe is called the Nightcrawler, featuring a skeletal lower half of the face with dagger teeth and a kind of burlap covering over the top half where bug eyes stared out; the doorperson/rulesgiver, a half-animal inventor-looking character wearing a doodad-encrusted, steampunkish bowler hat; and what we have in our notes as ‘sharp teeth pointy nose guy,’ which does no justice to the level of revulsion generated by that particular look.
Most of these appeared handcrafted and lovingly detailed, from the Nightcrawler’s elaborate black leather looking duster and Japanese RPG-like greatsword to the seams and stitches on Top Hatted Scarecrow’s crazy-quilt clothes. These are hot looks you aren’t going to see elsewhere.
And we haven’t even mentioned yet the Nightmare Monster, the haunt’s logo and mascot. This beastie, sporting what looked rather like a moose skull, loomed over us on stilts. In fact, we had to make our way past three stilted psychos on this visit!
Customer Service Score: 9.72
Customer Service Scores – By Question
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Customer Service Review:
Distracted is located within the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green, Ohio, a lively college town 30 minutes south of Toledo.
As happened to us last time, GPS got us to the haunt but then wanted to send us all around the mall when the attraction entrance was right in front of us. Look for the colored lights near some entry doors and some low to the ground, arrowed ‘Haunt’ signs. Free parking is in, you guessed it, a mall lot.
Once we entered through the mall doors, we found ticketing straight ahead and got directed to the proper line. We did not get tripped up by any obstacles or safety issues within the attraction.
Take a look at Distracted’s excellent website, where you can find online ticketing, backstory exposition, videos, and sneak peek looks at the tremendous costuming. They’ve got the full spectrum of social media channels covered as well, with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Staff members came across as friendly and helpful folks. The owner’s delightful mom served us water and marshmallows in the post-attraction communal area. What a great touch of hospitality!
Immersion Score: 8.22
Immersion Scores – By Question
Immersion Scores – By Attraction
To get the obvious out of the way, it’s in a mall with storefronts and bright lighting and no, that’s not the most ideal set-up for slipping into the spooky psyche. That’s true, though we’re kind of tired saying this year after year, when most mall haunts we’ve seen have been pretty darn good. But the ticket seller was dressed up and the props and signage were as effective as they could be in this setting.
No worries –- shortly after entering the attraction we had to remind ourselves, out loud verbally, that we were still in a mall. Because it sure didn’t seem like it. We got anxious, creeped out, and caught up in Distracted’s surreal setting.
The attraction produced a world apart, where we cowered and hesitated before moving forward in several spots. Transitions occurred abruptly, as dreams do. The story being told was about moving through a waking nightmare, and honestly that’s what it felt like!
Some continuity issues like visible speakers broke in on the illusion once in a while, but overall we experienced quite an immersive walkthrough at Distracted.
The attraction dumped us outside into the comfy confines of the aptly named Recovery Zone, adjacent to the parking lot. Here’s where you can heave a sigh of relief, roast marshmallows at the fire pit, and commiserate with your fellow traumatized hauntgoers. Or, grab a complimentary pair of plastic fangs and visit the Vamp Cam photo station that will send the pics right to your phone.
Special FX Score: 8.75
Special FX Scores – By Question
Special FX Scores – By Attraction
Special FX Review:
Like the costuming, Distracted wowed us with artful and disturbing effects. The very well designed walkthrough balanced and harmonized elements of sets and props, lighting and music, and the actors.
Tight, twisty corridors led through a surprising number of rooms and scenes. Early on we walked on pallet steps and over a mattress with someone laying on it, on the way to open a door made out of another mattress!
Intriguing sets followed one after another. A mirror room made us see more than double. We witnessed a grisly buzzsaw killing and tiptoed through a creepy/fun kid’s entertainment center that looked like a twisted Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Distracted’s audio program treated us to a cacophony of freaky choked screaming, eldritch chanting, and bizarre organ music. The graveyard buzzed with after-dark insect noises. This was certainly one of the more sinisterly sonic haunts we’ve heard this season.
Scare Factor Score: 8.41
Scare Factor Scores – By Question
Scare Factor Scores – By Attraction
Scare Factor Review:
Yep, Distracted successfully used lots of distractions for scares. The entire walkthrough is pretty much one marathon distraction punctuated by intense scares.
They subjected us to a bunch of phobias –- just some of them being the tight corridors, spiders, demonic possession, brutality and bodily violence, and madness.
It was not just jump scare after jump scare, either. Some characters engaged us openly or started an encounter being very visible in the next scene, starting a tense slow burn. They caged one of us to separate the group.
We became unnerved by the grotesque looks and mannerisms of the actors, the wacko music and sounds, and the pervading sense of nightmarish unreality. Parts of it felt positively evil. It was one of those cases where every component worked on its own, and also holistically with everything else, to create a potent fright factor throughout the whole haunt.
Entertainment & Value Score: 8.45
E&V Scores – By Question
E&V Scores – By Attraction
We survived our trip through the living nightmares of Distracted in 16 minutes. With the $24 general admission, the MPD (minutes of in-haunt entertainment per dollar) came out to 0.67.
Usually that would be somewhat disappointing in absolute terms, as we typically like to see a 1-to-1 correspondence of ticket cost and time spent. However, we still think the value relative to the quality of the haunt is good. How could that be?
For one thing, there’s a weird circumstance at work where a well done and scary haunt will cause you to perceive the time inside as stretched out. That is what happened to us. We came out thinking we’d stayed inside for a half-hour.
For another, this is no cookie-cutter haunt, it’s a singular experience. Its unique sensibility brings visitors a fresh and innovative approach, showcasing expertly designed effects and costuming you’re not going to see anywhere else. There’s a distinctive sense of phantasmagorical artistry at work within its constricted walls.
Distracted will help you answer the question: what does a haunt look like without clowns, hillbillies, a vortex, or a squeeze tunnel? The answer is, it can be pretty great. We urge you to try it and see for yourself.
Pics We Took From Our Visit:
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