Team Scare Response Unit reviewed this attraction on October 1, 2016.
Final Score: 7.31
Come join the dwellers of Limbo, the space that lingers after death that belongs to neither Heaven nor Hell. In The Uninvited: Awakening, you will journey through Purgatory, and come upon inhabitants whose days of the flesh may be done, but their desire to feel alive once more keeps them searching for human hosts. Set in the basement of an old NYC building that has been left untouched for many decades, this haunt is an immersive experience that allows guests to wander as they please and come upon the rooms at their own pace. Part of an ongoing story which will be traveling around the world, The Uninvited: Awakening takes its patrons through a clouded world of suspended moments, where those who linger for too long may just find themselves as an offering to a higher power.
The cast of creeps here are very much in character from the moment the haunt starts. Each has a role to play, and each does so with conviction. Since this is an immersive experience, the entire goal of the cast is to interact with the guests as they wander through this limbo. You choose rooms to walk into, and each room has a different scene inside, a small set with an actor inside, who pulls you into their story, into their small slice of everlasting torment. The rooms are mostly small and cubicle-like, with a high ceiling, but the actors make good use of the space they are given. The dialogue is mostly scripted to fit the theme of the room and overall story, and not much improvisation was seen. There seemed to be a good number of actors used overall, since most of them alternated between their room and the abyss, but I counted at least 7 designed rooms, some with really interesting designs, but with no actors. I’ll admit I was stuck in the void for a long time, and may have missed what was going on in these rooms, but it still felt a little disappointing to pass by a room and have questions as to what would be happening in there, and leave with no answer.
Well, if I say anything about this haunt, it’s that they have no problem getting authentic for their art. Since most of the rooms had themes, the clothes the actors wore were fitting to those themes, even if it called for modesty to be thrown to the wind. There were a handful of actors who didn’t seem to have any makeup used on them, which worked if they were a simple nun or writer. There were prosthetics used on those who were more than human that looked realistic. Overall though, it seemed as if costuming was done with a minimalistic approach. It made some of the looks believable, but did not have anything that really stood out or captured attention.
Customer Service: 7.25
Management is extremely helpful, and happy to go out of their way to answer your questions and assist you where they can. Unfortunately when I went on opening day though, management was busy getting everything ready, and instead there was only one worker from The Uninvited to try and answer guests’ questions and take care of tickets as well. It didn’t help that she shared a table with two others who didn’t have any ties to The Uninvited, and therefore had no answers for any guests that entered. Security was friendly and helpful as well though, and tried to help guests who waited in the line outside. It is a bit hard to find, since it begins in an alley on the side of a NYC building, with no signage, but once you get past security they guide you to where you need to go. It may be a bit dangerous in the fact that for a while you are wandering around in a room that is either so dark or so foggy that you cannot see anything in front of you and, if you have two left feet or walk a bit too quickly, you may just bump into someone (or something) as it darts by you.
There are no sounds or music outside, aside from the normal sounds of NYC. The building itself is pretty big and old fashioned though. Just on first glance, it is not obvious you are at a haunt. In a small way, that works out for this attraction, since it is meant to make you feel as if you have stumbled into Purgatory and must find your way out. But, ultimately, the outside does not prepare you for what you are about to embark on.
Special Effects: 7.5
My favorite thing about this haunt, and possibly my least favorite thing at the same time, is the use of lighting. As you walk into the haunt and go deeper into the belly of the beast, the lighting starts to shift. You go from seeing clearly, to seeing the silhouettes of figures moving around you, sometimes charging at you, to not being able to see at all. For the first few minutes, this is a very cool effect, only catching glimpses of shadowy figures from the corner of your eye, or not seeing something until you are right on top of it. The downside is that since this is mostly a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience, if you wander too deep into this abyss, you may find yourself at the end of your experience without having seen much of the actual attraction. A number of guests, including myself, were stuck lost in the fog and darkness for over half of our time there, and some people were pretty vocal about it at the end. There was a lack of sound effects, which caused some people to follow the sound of a dripping pipe, which turned out to be just a dripping pipe, not an actual effect. The mini-themed rooms that they had spread throughout this labyrinth were small, but very well detailed. From a writer’s block with pages spread across every surface of the walls, to a nuns classroom with lectures written on the board, and even a clowns den with a very anatomically correct balloon person being hung by a balloon noose, the mini rooms seemed very well done. Unfortunately a good number of these rooms were either closed off with police tape, or had no actors in them when I passed by.
The overall theme of the haunt is laid out for you on the website, and briefly explained in a small skit which starts you on your journey. You have wandered into Purgatory and, in order to get out, you have to traverse this abyss and avoid the denizens of this world who are doomed to live through a single moment of time over and over again and will do anything to feel the semblance of life one more time. Without background info though, the normal guest will walk through knowing only that they are stuck in Limbo and must get out. The actors do a good job in their own little mini-themed rooms, and the abyss-walkers also do well making you feel as though you have to avoid contact, unless you wish to join them in their eternal anguish.
Fright Effect: 6
While you are wandering around the main area, bodies will run at or by you, sometimes whispering, sometimes yelling, sometimes not saying anything and just being plain creepy. Other than this main area though, the scares are few. The actors have scenes to play out and rooms to work in, and that is what they do. They will try to interact with as many people as possible, but they are merely interactions, not so much scares.
This immersive haunt hosts a slew of different ticket prices depending on online vs in person purchasing, student discounts, chicken add-on tickets (if you do not want to be touched), etc. The base price is $60 for a half hour experience, which means you pay $2/minute. Just make sure you don’t spend too long being lost in the abyss, to make the best of those $2 you gotta keep on moving and try to see as much as possible, since if left to your own devices, you may miss more than half the haunt. There is a lot of mini-rooms inside of the haunt, but a handful of them were closed off, leaving guests to wonder what would happen in them if there was no tape preventing entrance. The $150 Skeleton Key package lets a guests choose one door, and spend up to an extra 30 minutes in the haunt experiencing a personalized fright.