Team Jefferson Starship reviewed this attraction on October 8, 2016.
Final Score: 9.37
The Haunted Trail in Holley, NY is a small home haunt that winds through an old 4×4 trail off of Ridge Road. It is run by some of the most passionate and tightly-knit haunters this review team has ever met. Due to local government restrictions it is open only two weekends a year, which is a terrible shame. This is a charity haunt that donates all of its income and food donations to those in need. It is packed full of scares for the admission price and has an eye for detail that is stunning to behold. On top of that, the actors’ passion and love for the haunt shines through in every scene. Mark their dates on your calendar and make your way out to meet this nightmarish family!
The first thing that needs to be said about the Haunted Trail in Holley’s cast is that they have the best clowns this review team has ever seen’ and we have seen a lot of clowns. The Marionette is unsettlingly gleeful, the ghillie suit monster seems capable of teleportation and a certain monster convinced us that they were simply a set piece before almost scaring us out of our skin. With 35 actors, there are no empty spaces to stare at and every scene is fully utilized by the characters within them. Some of the dialogue is a bit predictable, but the mad gleam in each actor’s eye, as well as their familiarity with their surroundings and usage of their space, makes each one a treasure. The final actor will help you find the exit at high speed!
Between the ridiculously-detailed ghillie suit, the remarkably-realistic, mad clowns, and the chilling nun, every costume in the Haunted Trail is perfectly placed within its scene. These may not be high-end makeup and costume jobs, but they are carefully crafted and extremely well done for the type of haunt this is. The theme of each room was represented and underlined by each choice. Some of the costumes were a bit more basic, but again, this is a charity haunt that donates all of its profits.
Customer Service: 10
The Haunted Trail in Holley has clear signage, a well-lit entrance, and excellent customer service. It is 100% handicap accessible and offers attentive and care-driven responses from its entire staff. From the genial greeting we received at the ticket booth to the post-haunt fire pit conversation that we had with all of the haunters, this place is a delight for any customer. This is a group that not only loves their haunt, but also their community and it truly shows. Visiting the Haunted Trail is temporarily joining their tight-knit family.
Without question, the atmosphere at the Haunted Trail is one of community and Harvest. The entrance is lit with jaunty lights, the fire pit is good for gathering to discuss the horrific sights visitors have witnessed and the hot chocolate is plentiful. The house screams haunt from the moment you step up to the second you enter your car to leave.
Special Effects: 9.25
The budget may be small, but the output here for special effects is pretty tremendous (considering the materials). All of the props and effects are reclaimed pieces from Craigslist and other second-hand organizations, but they are all utilized perfectly. Day-glo pieces are effectively placed and ingeniously created. Sound effects are byproducts brought about by set pieces and actors. There’s no big budget animatronics, but this isn’t the setting for that. The lighting is a bit dim in some places where the setting deserves brightness. On the other hand, there’s so much detail packed into every scene that even perfect lighting wouldn’t expose it all.
The theme of the Haunted Trail is well explained by the guardian of its gates. It is a series of sets created to exploit some more-common and some of the rarer phobias. One scene actually managed to seriously unnerve one of our more staunch reviewers and was something we had never before seen in any of the haunts we’ve visited. There are the more common scares available (clowns, unnerving children, ghosts, and bugs), but they are executed well and with a true love of bone-chilling horror. The rooms may not be connected to each other, but they all relate back to this central theme of terror.
Fright Effect: 8.98
Without a doubt this was some of the best redirection scares we’ve ever seen. Haunted Trail may be small, but it packs a lot of bang for your buck. There are some jump scares, as is expected, but the general focus of the house is to draw your eye one way before throwing terror at you from another. Some of the scares are a little more expected than others, but ultimately, there’s a lot here that you never see coming until it’s too late. The haunters here are also very good at spreading the attention over the whole of your group instead of focusing on the front or back participants.
Entrance to the Haunted Trail is $10 per person or $8 if you bring a canned good for charity. It takes between 10 and 12 minutes to walk through the entirety of the haunt, making it a little less than a dollar per minute. On top of that, we would highly suggest going through twice (if you can handle it) in the interest of attempting to see all of the details that the haunt creators have put in. Parking is free and slightly down the road and there’s an officer on site monitoring it.