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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 11, 2013.
Final Score: 9.14
Dreadland Haunted Woods is back for its second season in 2013 and continuing to provide scares in some of the most original ways we have seen to date! Some of the things you will have to do in these woods just may send you home crying to your mommy! For the second year in a row, Dreadland calls themselves the ‘game changer,’ and we have to say, there’s a lot of scare techniques and effects used here that you won’t see anywhere else! Be sure to try your luck at the DreadZone, an optional challenge that we won’t disclose details of, but if you complete the challenge, you will be refunded $5.00 of your admission price! This was our team’s second unsuccessful attempt at the Dread Zone! If an original, in-your-face, go-home-crying-to-your-mommy-type attraction sounds like fun to you, then make sure they are on your list of attractions to hit during the Halloween season! ‘Due to graphic nature and gore, Dreadland Haunted Woods is not recommended for anyone under the age of 16. EDIT: Dreadland has made many changes for the 2014 haunt season including making their haunted woods “family friendly”. They do still have the DREADZONE challenge, but wanted to let their customers know there is no more touching or cussing in the haunted woods.
On an average night, there are between 44 to 50 paid actors hiding out, anxiously awaiting your presence in their woods. This cast spent an entire month before season began doing dry-runs and working with the actors on their timing and scenes. This cast’s higher intensity and interaction with our group this season made for much more believable characters. They were constantly yelling profanity at us, in our faces, and grabbing at us all throughout the attraction! Although many of them had coarse and
demanding dialogue that fit their theme, more diversity and interaction in some of their lines would help bring this score up even higher. This is the case with several actors asking us if we wanted to play a game with no responses. There were two actors that were more interactive with our group than the rest. The first was the crazy-eyed mad man who immediately started off our journey by splitting our group up! The other was the whiskey drinker who didn’t give up on our group until we were well out of his area, threatening to use our blood to make his whiskey! There seemed to be an actor hiding around every corner, but some of them needed to be more persistent with us to become as believable as others.
Costuming consists of tattered, distressed, and bloody clothing that seems to fit these characters. Several masks are used throughout the attraction. Two of them stood out over the others because of their originality and they were actually made by the actors themselves. The rest of them have been purchased through haunt vendors. There are two full time makeup artists and a few others who chip in and help apply the blood and wounds, which added finishing touches to some of the costumes. More elaborate makeup usage with the rest of the characters would help make more of the makeup that is used stand out. However it was pretty dark in a lot of areas, making it rather hard for our group to see all of the characters completely. Memorable costumes to us were the lady with the baby coming out of her stomach and the guy in the first room since it seemed as if more time might have been spent on making them look as realistic as possible.
Customer Service: 8.15
Signs can be spotted on the highway before you turn onto the road the haunt is located on. A large, reflective sign was at the entrance, making it easy to find. Free parking is available in a large, but very dark, grassy area so be careful as you make your way to the ticket booth. Portable restrooms are located next to the ticket booth and we suggest you use them so maybe you won’t while you’re in the haunt! There is also a concession stand near the ticket booth for your convenience. Friendly staff can be found at the ticket booth and at the front of the queue line to answers any questions that may arise, especially after you are asked to sign a waiver. During our visit there wasn’t any type of entertainment in the queue area but on busier nights there will probably be actors roaming about. Since this entire attraction takes place outside, you will come across uneven ground so watch where you are going and be extremely cautious as you approach and exit the attraction due to low visibility. Several fire barrels are placed in the queue and ticket area in case you need to try to warm up before entering the attraction.
Once we arrived, the loud cries for help and other variant sounds echoing from within the woods were the only things going on that let us know we were at a haunted attraction, or at least that’s what we hoped it meant! As we neared the entrance of the attraction the crazy sounds within the woods were getting louder and louder which started to get us pumped up to enter. Although these sounds were pretty intense, it would be hard to prepare someone for what they are going to experience within these timbers! Inside the attraction there was a lot of hard rock/metal music and realistic sounds that helped bring these scenes to life. Some of the realistic sounds were a gun shot, horns, piercing screams, and even a car engine!
Special Effects: 9.5
Special effects used have been welded and fabricated by the employees themselves, thus explaining why you will see so much originality. They are also used in trying to make sure you are out of your comfort zone! We don’t want to give everything away but some of the effects that you will see include falling dummies, a casting net and a catfish, some very atrocious decor, a flame thrower, many things hanging down in heads reach, an electrified baby, and LIVE bugs! Since many of these effects aren’t used at other attractions, we were very impressed with them and their overall effectiveness and intensity in many areas. Some scenes were decorated very well, but there were also a lot of walls with only black paint and writing on them. Most of the effects did compliment the actors and made for a much more believable environment.
Dreadland’s theme is to scare and entertain. They also try to stick with their own version of ‘Wrong Turn’ and ‘hillbillies’ but it’s not meant to replicate them by any means. The intense actors within these woods, along with the realistic special effects, help bring this theme to life and carry it throughout the attraction. We just kept seeing more and more surprises that we’ve never seen before! All of the scenes seemed to match this original backwoods theme which matches the location perfectly! More original dialogue by some of the actors would help to raise the score in this category.
Fright Effect: 9.6
This haunt provides scares on a variety of levels from insulting and demanding dialogue to uncomfortable tasks, unsuspected startles, to actually getting touched and grabbed! As soon as we stepped foot into this attraction they immediately provided us with a rather uncomfortable entrapment, which was a great way to put customers in the mood to be scared. This haunt will use all your senses against you to make sure they provide everyone in your group a scare! There were plenty of unsuspected startles and scares from above throughout the attraction that kept us on our toes! The DreadZone is a very original challenge and may consist of things that you or your group members don’t feel comfortable doing. But hey, if you complete the challenge, you will be refunded $5.00 off of your admission fee! Several very good distractions were used in the haunt, but more of them would help to increase this high score even more. Most of the scares we received were very unpredictable, which is the main reason why this attraction provided more scares to our group than others!
General admission to the woods is $15.00 and VIP admission is available for $30.00 per person allowing you to skip the long wait on busy nights. Keep in mind if you complete the DreadZone, you will receive a $5.00 refund! Our group was tortured for over 27 minutes in these infested woods, giving you over one minute of entertainment per dollar especially if you successfully complete the DreadZone! Add that to the level of entertainment provided and you’ve got yourself one heck of a good deal! Be sure to check Cincy Savers, where 1/2 off VIP tickets are offered. The haunt also passed out many fliers this year good for $2.00 discounts if you come across one of those. If you are over the age of 16, and feel that you need to experience an extreme, original attraction that will use your senses against you, then be sure to visit Dreadland Haunted Woods, ‘Boy, did YOU take a wrong turn….’