The Dent Schoolhouse – Full Review

The Dent Schoolhouse is a Haunted Attraction located in Cincinnati, OH.

5963 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45248
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple HauntsHaunted House

Links:

The Dent Schoolhouse Facebook PageThe Dent Schoolhouse WebsiteThe Dent Schoolhouse Twitter PageThe Dent Schoolhouse on InstagramThe Dent Schoolhouse on YouTube

Contact:

Call The Dent SchoolhouseEmail The Dent SchoolhouseMessage The Dent Schoolhouse on Facebook Messenger

Features:

Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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Team Teachers of Terror Logo

This attraction was reviewed on October 14, 2023 by Team Teachers of Terror.


About Our Reviews and Rating System


Final Score: 9.36

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Summary:

They understood the assignment.

The Dent Schoolhouse, with backbones comparable to those of horror legend Freddy Krueger, has become a staple in the haunted house industry here in Ohio. They somehow manage to weave fact and fiction together into an urban legend, centering on Charlie McFree, a deranged serial killer (and school janitor) who uses the schoolhouse as his killing grounds. Stories of poltergeist activity thicken the plot, as we sympathize with the young victims from the 1950s who will never return home.

This is the kind of haunt we haunt enthusiasts want to storm the gates from year to year for a chance to see what’s going on. The well-dressed and convincing actors worked in tandem with some outrageous animatronics and made good use of many hidey holes and dark spots to scare at different times. Walking through this haunt was like walking on a movie set scene after scene, rich with details galore and begging to be photographed (don’t do it, it isn’t allowed).


Cast Score: 8.99

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Cast Review:

Dent Schoolhouse had a great mix of cast and animatronics. Cast members were utilized throughout the haunt hiding and lurking in well-constructed scenes. There was not a shortage of enthusiastic actors. There were several times we were unsure if a cast member was real or a prop/animatronic until it was too late.

We encountered so many different characters, from the expected to the unexpected. We saw teachers, students in various forms of disarray, creepy dolls, living statues, basement dwelling creatures, stuffed animals, and clowns, just to name a few. We don’t want to give too much away, but we saw some actors in situations we hadn’t seen before, and they all did great at staying in character.

This is a fast-paced haunt so there is limited time for one-on-one dialogue with the cast. Some were lurkers, many yelled out at a fast rate of speech. The speaking actors’ speech was appropriate for their scene, and we didn’t pick up on variations of speech or accents. The pace was fast so we weren’t able to interact personally, but were entertained throughout.

Physically, we were followed out of some scenes by silent actors who intimidated us up close. Some met us head-on, while others jumped out from the sides. We even met a few overhead and saw one or two below us.


Costuming Score: 9.46

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Costuming Review:

There were characters in makeup, and others in well-designed masks. However, Some areas were too dark to get a good look at the faces. The masks we encountered fit well and matched their scenes beautifully. All makeup appeared nicely layered and complete. Shout out to the living statue look, you fooled us! That makeup/mask application was flawless and had a way of drawing us in before the big scare. We truly thought we were examining a weathered marble statue. They even thought of everything on their bat character, down to the legs and feet, which seemed to be the standard here on every character that wasn’t hiding from us in the eerie way they do. So, to say every character placement appeared intentional and belonged in the scenes in which they were placed is an understatement.

The queue actors we met were also complete. Evil custodian, Charlie meandered around the crowd in full mask and costume, complete with the tools of his trade, ready to use on anyone who got close enough. We saw Pumpkin Smasher from across the way and could hear him as well, and he did not disappoint in a full mask and complete costume down to the gloves and shoes, and instead of a traditional clown jumpsuit, he was donning “old school” knickers, intimidating onlookers with his mallet. At the conclusion of the haunt, in the Monster Midway, we spotted and interacted with a nicely done executioner, complete with frazzled hair and clothes, as one might expect from spending time near an electric chair.


Customer Service Score: 9.92

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There were plenty of places along the roadway offering parking spaces, for a $10 fee. There was signage at the haunt indicating free parking was available further down the street at the hospital. Navigating the actual property was easy. We saw the lighting of the place before we got on the property, and they also had ample signage directing us to the ticket booth, and various ticketing lines, making this haunt “user-friendly”. The stairs inside Dent were lit well and the flooring and stairs were just a little narrow, uneven, or “wonky”, but this added to the old dilapidated feel of the building. For those who may need cash, an ATM machine is available.

All staff seemed very kind and courteous. We saw staff interacting with other customers in a respectful manner, answering questions and offering information and directions.

The website was very easy to use and contained all pertinent information with a simple click of a button.


Immersion Score: 9.66

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Immersion Review:

Arriving on the property, we were met immediately by the now-iconic schoolhouse bathed in red lighting. While in line to enter the outdoor carnival area, guests were treated (or threatened, however, you look at it) by different queue actors and a movie screen playing horror films. The scarecrow, Charlie the Janitor, and Pumpkin Smasher were well dressed and interacted well with guests. Inside the carnival area, pre-show booths with photo opportunities with both stationary and motion props and animatronics gave us plenty of eye candy to enjoy as we wound around the lane. (They even included a fun witchy area, which spoke to us for some reason.)

Once we finished the haunt itself, we exited directly into the Monster Midway that offered multiple (we counted at least 14) selfie stations, an entertaining sound system and music with a light show, animatronics, food varieties, several escape rooms (for an additional $5) and axe-throwing station. History buffs would surely enjoy the haunted house museum with photos from the early days of the attraction dating back to the 1970s.

The storyline did directly relate to the property. It followed mayhem following a schoolhouse under attack by dark forces and in sync with the infamous legend plastered all over the internet. At the start, there was a memorial, so we knew right away people had been murdered there. The early rooms were classrooms filled with school equipment.

We were immersed from the moment we entered the property to the time we left the property. Honestly, we talked about our experience at The Dent for days! We can’t say enough good things about our time here.


Special FX Score: 9.55

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Special FX Review:

The numerous quality sounds of this attraction were exceedingly effective in giving a shaky feeling to all who enter. Sounds noted but not limited to include: eerie and suspenseful background sounds, theatrical music throughout, an ambient haunting soundtrack, recorded distressful screams (blending with screaming of actors and guests alike), and startling music to accompany the numerous jump scares set up by actors. All the rooms had music and sounds appropriate for that particular room. The doll room had music appropriate for a child’s theme, the carnival room had carnival music, the sewer had dripping water sounds, the snake room included the hissing sounds of snakes, and when passing the lockers the sounds of the banging of lockers could be heard. We were even treated to a news radio bulletin about that dastardly Charlie. Many of the animatronics had their own sounds (child screaming at being paddled, laughing classmates as props were pointing at the paddling scene), the hissing strike of the snake animatronic, and the sounds of lockers banging while seeing the doors slamming. All these sounds kept our minds emerged in the scene we were in. Even in the few quiet areas in the haunt, they prevented us from allowing our minds to snap back into reality with suspense.

The scenes were masterfully detailed and beautiful to look at. The memorial to the students at the very beginning of our walk set the tone that followed throughout the haunt. Places of note include the winding doll area with life-sized dolls in their proper storage compartment. They even added details like using an old quilt as a doorway divider and sawdust in the school’s shop class. The electro-shock therapy room with the electric rod pointing directly at a clearly unwilling participant (judging by the wrist and ankle restraints). The stacked student chairs and desks to create a walking path provided a sense of disarray and disturbance. We enjoyed the decay and deterioration of the walls with their holes, cracks, and exposed slats. The catacombs with what appeared to be thousands and thousands of aged skulls felt old and ancient. We also enjoyed the towering props in the carnival room, giving us the perspective of a small vulnerable child. With the details provided in each scene, we knew exactly what room we were in at this scary, haunted school.

Props and animatronics were realistic and were everywhere! Not only were there special sounds to compliment the props and animatronics but props were displayed in unique ways. Entering the dark hall with the “jack-o-lantern” carved heads hanging from glowing orange pendant lights looked fit for a real nice photo shoot. Animatronics popped out at us at seemingly all angles and sizes. The electric chair got us, and once the light fell, we noticed the smoke left behind filling the scene. The sight of the adult woman hanging from a noose from above was also a good choice and a little jolting. We were amazed by the variety of detail in each and every animatronic including but not limited to the carousel horse, the detailed snake coming out of the wall, and the tower of clowns.

The library shelving that compressed in on us made us feel a little claustrophobic, just as the waist-high “chum bucket” compression tunnel pushed gooey-looking body parts and fluids our way. We loved the three acrobatic, high-flying actors donning harnesses and scaring from above! We saw several projections and lots of fog. We experienced strobing effects in several places coupled with a moving animatronic that made her movements feel as though she was swooping toward us. Flickering lights, Edison bulbs, and showcase lights all put our attention to the details we were supposed to see, just long enough for an actor or animatronic to jump out after us. Varieties of colored lights kept our attention and told us we were in a different area of the haunt.

All special effects were appropriately, effectively placed, and top-notch. Details throughout this haunt fit the story of a horrendous tragedy that occurred in the storyline!


Scare Factor Score: 9.08

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Scare Factor Review:

The Dent’s primary scare tactic is the startle and jump scare, and they are very good at it! We were engaged with something or someone nearly every minute we made our way through. We were often distracted by a scene detail, a prop or animatronic, a disguise, or even a sound that set us up to get yelled at by someone or unexpectedly approached. Actors would hide behind props and get us as soon as we turned in the right direction. Phobias we encountered include gore, creatures, snakes, spiders, dark, clowns, chainsaws, cockroaches, loss of senses, and public humiliation. We even witnessed physically and mentally abusive teachers (say it ain’t so!).

Scares felt evenly distributed. Scares hit various members of our group and from different directions. Some scares were for the front of the line, however, some were purposely reserved for those of us in the middle or back of the line. We were stalked at times, and even “assaulted” from above.

There were some holes here and there we expected someone to go through to get us, but then they didn’t come out right away, so we would continue our walk and kind of forget about them, only for an actor to pop out at someone further down in our line. Some actors were screaming and others were silent and creepy.

We enjoyed the surprising finale. We went in expecting a simple walk-through, however, we were taken aback by this one-of-a-kind ending. We literally felt like our breath was being taken away. We don’t want to go into further detail, but we thoroughly enjoyed it! The finale comes with an opt-out option, however, we recommend it.


Entertainment & Value Score: 9.38

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E&V Review:

General admission tickets vary in price, depending on the day. Thursdays and Sundays cost $25, while Fridays and Saturdays are $30-35 (date specific). Fast pass is an additional $20 plus general admission, and Front of the Line tickets are $30 plus general admission. We were inside the attraction for 23 minutes, but it felt longer with the variety of cast, scenes, and eye candy we were treated to. With the show we got, the price is reasonable.

The queue area is appropriate and must accommodate the large crowds of people who come to this unique attraction. The Monster Midway offers a variety of activities for guests who want to linger a little longer after the exit of the haunt.

We had an awesome time here at The Dent Schoolhouse, and we can’t wait to return to see what they have in store for the future.


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Pics We Took From Our Visit:


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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 8.32 out of 10

Paul Russell – 9.95/10October 2, 2021
We drive 2 hours to go to this haunt. It is the best we have been to and we have been to some great …show more ones in Kentucky and surrounding states. Third year we have been to it and it has yet to disappoint.

Ray – 9/10October 5, 2023
This was an awesome attraction! The theming was great, even in the queue just before you get in. …show more There’s an amazing attention to detail to much of the house, and the set design is top-notch. The scare actors and staff did a phenomenal job! One criticism I do have: it does feel a bit odd to have different sections of the house that feel like they belong in their own house, with the clown section being a perfect example that sticks out. It was well done, but it didn’t feel like I was going through a haunted schoolhouse at that point. The experience could be much stronger if they put more focus on the schoolhouse theme throughout, and tie the different sections together with that common thread. Overall, I’d recommend going to Dent Schoolhouse, and can’t wait to visit again soon!

Tamara – 6/10October 4, 2019
They paid alot of attention to details. They needed more actors. We bought the VIP pass which was …show more definitely worth it if you want to go to more than one attraction per night. The chainsaw operators could use a few tips on how to run one. Better ventilation for where the chainsaws were. some of the propss you could see dust on them so it didn’t look realistic

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Past Awards


2022 Awards

Scariest Duo - The Cult Duo (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Merch (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Masks (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Immersion (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Special Effects (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Dr. McFree - Heidi Wagner (Given by: Team Zombillies)


2019 Awards

Best Chainsaw Maniacs (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Decorated House Queue (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Special Effects (Given by: Team Zombillies)


2018 Awards

Best Hiding Spots (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Queue Entertainment (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Dead Body Count (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Decorated House Queue (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Hi-Tech Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Atmosphere (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Actor Shout Out - Possession Victim - Olivia Murray (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Actor Shout Out - Pumpkin Smasher - Maximus Christian Bryant (Given by: Team Zombillies)



Past Awards


2022 Awards

Scariest Duo - The Cult Duo (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Merch (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Masks (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Immersion (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Special Effects (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Dr. McFree - Heidi Wagner (Given by: Team Zombillies)


2019 Awards

Best Chainsaw Maniacs (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Decorated House Queue (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Special Effects (Given by: Team Zombillies)


2018 Awards

Best Hiding Spots (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Best Queue Entertainment (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Dead Body Count (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Decorated House Queue (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Hi-Tech Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Atmosphere (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Actor Shout Out - Possession Victim - Olivia Murray (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Actor Shout Out - Pumpkin Smasher - Maximus Christian Bryant (Given by: Team Zombillies)


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