Review of The Empty Grave Haunted Attraction

Review of The Empty Grave Haunted Attraction

Review of The Empty Grave Haunted Attraction

The Empty Grave

The Empty Grave is a Haunted Attraction located in Thornton, CO.

13801 Grant Street, Thornton, CO 80229
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Haunt Type(s):

1HauntedHouse

Links:

The Empty Grave Facebook PageThe Empty Grave WebsiteThe Empty Grave Twitter PageThe Empty Grave on InstagramTickets to The Empty Grave

Contact:

Call The Empty GraveEmail The Empty GraveMessage The Empty Grave on Facebook Messenger

Features:

Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

Team Hauntarama reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 11, 2019.

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Final Score: 7.68

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Summary:

With its origins in California in the mid aughts, the Empty Grave is celebrating its 13th year, though only its second season in Colorado, and is Denver’s newest professional haunted house. This season, the Empty Grave opens its doors in the newly constructed Denver Premium Outlets, just off of I-25 and 136th Avenue. Although the Empty Grave is new to the area, and was bumping up against some ridiculously tight deadlines in getting the haunt open this year, it showed that it will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come!

We visited on opening night, the day after the metro area’s first major snowfall of the season, and still the haunt was ready and waiting to terrify all takers. Visible even from the highway, a large projection of the haunt’s logo shone on the back of the building, rivaling the lighted signs of the other stores in the mall, and appearing just above the haunt’s hearse. After a short walk from the parking lot, we were met with the attraction’s ticket booth and queue line, clearly indicating that we were at the right spot. Being in a mall, the façade of the building didn’t offer much eye candy, but the event began the instant we opened the door. Fog billowed out, obstructing our view just enough that we didn’t see the haunt’s sinister supervisor rush over until he was right next to us, demanding that we clock in and get to work.

The haunt’s build offers more than one would imagine capable inside a strip mall’s store space, and it was truly a feat for the Empty Grave team to achieve. As Mike, the Empty Grave’s owner and star actor, informed us, they had just about a month to pull the entire haunt together, from permitting to perfecting. The build-out was further complicated by the unique space within the walls, which was created with a retail store in mind, not a haunt. Ever determined, the Empty Grave crew pulled through with a truly remarkable experience, thanks in no small part to the build team’s attention to detail. That care and quality truly came through, making the succinct trip through Empty Grave a memorable experience!


Cast: 7.68

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Given the smaller size of the haunt, the cast consisted of a small core of actors, including Mike and some of his family and friends. While the haunt might have benefited from a few additional actors to further support the theme, provide a bit more variety, and a few more scares, it didn’t feel understaffed. The frightening foreman appeared repeatedly, berating us for working too slowly before disappearing as quickly as he had appeared. We were followed by a crawling creature, and rushed upon by a cadaverous coworker, who turned and glared menacingly, eyeing the fresh meat. Advancing through the darkness yielded more dire creatures and figures beckoning threateningly from around corners while weeping wails carried through the haunt chilling those who dared continue. Despite the limited number of live bodies, all of the actors were fully committed to their respective roles, and were extremely interactive, giving all of their focus to making sure we got a great show!


Costuming: 7.62

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Between the well-done lighting and thick fog, it was difficult to see much detail in the costumes, except when that was the haunter’s goal. For instance, after passing the fast-moving worker that emerged from nowhere, the masked man turned to watch us go, giving us just enough of a glimpse of his mask to show off its frightening features. Nevertheless, the costumes that we did come across all seemed well put together and of good quality. We were a bit confused by the hospital gown appearance of one of the costumes, as it didn’t fit the theme very well, but it filled its role well enough that it didn’t detract from anything. The makeup was fairly simple, which was all that was needed to achieve the end goal. The Empty Grave didn’t focus on blood, guts and gore, but more of a subtle sense of unease; so, although, the masks and make up aren’t as sanguine as some others, they are effective.


Customer Service: 9.41

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Customer service at the Empty Grave is certainly one of its strong points! The website and Facebook page are eye-catching yet sleek, providing any pertinent info one would need to visit without requiring a seizure warning. The Empty Grave also did a great job of helping folks find it. Beyond the usual advertising one would do, it’s glowing logo is visible to anyone driving on I-25. The staff was also warm, welcoming and wonderfully helpful, answering any questions we had with the enthusiasm you’d only find in truly dedicated haunters!


Atmosphere: 7.1

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There is no doubt upon approaching that visitors are at a haunted house, however, on our visit, there was also not a whole lot happening outside the doors. Although the queue line and ticket booth are in a covered location, the open nature of the Denver Premium Outlets did little to keep out the cold that seized the night. Sensibly, there were no creepers outside the haunt on our visit. There was also no real indication of what the haunt offered inside either. While things were clarified immediately upon opening the door, it was a bit difficult to discern what to expect prior to entering, particularly when contrasted with the suburban mall feel. Between that and the frigid cold, there were likely many things that contributed to the underwhelming atmosphere outside the haunt on our visit, but based on what we saw inside, the exterior environment of the haunt likely improved in the following few days.


Special Effects: 7.68

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Being opening night, there were a few bugs to work through, but the special effects were very well done. The haunt begins with an old-timey instructional audio clip, welcoming visitors to their first day on the job and giving the usual ground rules like no touching the other “employees.” The fun continues as guest wander through their workplace tour, narrowly avoiding electrocution in one of the best done live wire set-ups we’ve seen, before hearing the siren sobs of unknown origin wafting through the walls. Lighting was also another bright spot at the Empty Grave, as spotlights were placed so they both drew our attention and blinded us. Fog and lighting were also used well in combination to make some spots obscured just enough to set up a great scare. The sets and décor, which were of a quality rivaling haunts with much higher budgets (and ticket prices), were masterfully arranged, truly providing a sense of authenticity that was unexpected given the attraction’s location within a relatively small retail space. For instance, the path was designed so that the effects spilling in from other areas of the haunt created a tremendous amount of depth to the experience.


Theme: 7.5

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As Mike explained, the theme this year is a haunted factory, where visitors are walking in for their first shift. With the fun, old-timey audio that plays to welcome the factory’s newest “workers” at the beginning of the event, there is no mistaking the theme upon entering. Once again, though, there is not much to inform visitors of what to expect until that time, as neither the exterior nor the website mention that theme. Nevertheless, the theme is executed exceptionally well within the walls of the haunt, complete with oozing pipes, large drums and other treacherous factory hazards. Passing through the pathway, multiple elements within the attraction, including the factory’s morbid manager constantly popping up throughout the halls to harass haunt-goers to work faster, fulfill the haunted factory theme. While a brief description on the website would have been a welcome addition, the theme was a success!


Scare Factor: 7.79

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Although we have visited scarier haunts, the Empty Grave did not disappoint! The cast did a great job targeting everyone in our small group: some appearing in front and others approaching from the rear. Scares also came from unexpected locations in unexpected ways, without another soul in sight! In addition, given how the Empty Grave constructed the haunt to have a tremendous amount of depth, many of the scares were presaged by some sight or sound, adding to the excited anticipation as we walked along.


Entertainment & Value: 6.95

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The Empty Grave is highly entertaining, and certainly worth the low cost of admission, which starts at just $15! Given the great detailing and deep structure of the haunt, the crew also did a tremendous job utilizing the space to create a great experience. Due to that profound detail and depth, the haunt felt like it took a good fifteen minutes to traverse, but unfortunately the total walkthrough time was closer to six or seven minutes, including the introductory audio. Similarly, given the dearth of outside activity on the night of our visit, there wasn’t much other entertainment for us to adjudge. But make no mistake, the Empty Grave is a great time and a great deal!


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