UNdead In The Water – Full Review

UNdead In The Water is a Haunted Attraction located in Tampa, FL.

705 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602
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Paid Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line

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This attraction was reviewed on October 7, 2022 by Team Floridead.

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Final Score: 8.13

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UNDead in the Water, a haunted house set aboard the American Victory Ship, is back for its fifth year of nautical terror in Tampa’s harbor. Titled UNDead in the Water V: The Gathering, the story follows an evil spirit and her cult who have taken over the cargo ship. As you make your way through the WWII ship, you’ll encounter members of the cult hunting you and the remaining crew members down to be sacrificed or become members of the cult. UNDead in the Water changes its storyline every year so it’s never the same experience, which only makes the haunt that much stronger.

The American Victory Ship is 1 of only 4 fully-operational WWII ships in the country and is such a fantastic location for a haunted house. The confined, long hallways, vast rooms, dank smells, and dark corridors heighten the claustrophobia and dread you’ll feel onboard the ship. It’s one of the most unique haunts in Florida and we recommend the trip for what is sure to be a haunted experience you’ll never forget.

Cast Score: 8.13

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Cast Review:

The cast onboard the American Victory Ship were deeply committed to their roles. Helpless crew members ran up to us, begging for help, while pushing us forward into the haunt and further into the storyline. One of the highlights was the cast on the upper deck, which is fully open and not a confined space.

As we made our way from ship aft to ship forward, a crew member was running towards us, pleading to save her. A member of the cult was quickly gaining on her and ultimately pinned her to the side of the ship and slowly stabbed her with a machete. It was an act of brutality that felt uncomfortably real as we walked by as bystanders to the murder. It was such an effective scene and really heightened the cult’s threat level.

Further, into the haunt, cast members utilized portholes, a good majority of the interior cabins, and corridors by stairways to pop out when you least expected it. In a change of pace, some cult members chose to stand silently in the darkness, staring at us and creating high levels of unease.

The other cast member we want to give a special shoutout to is the one at the bottom of the staircase heading into the cargo holds. From the moment we hit the top of the staircase to the moment we reached the bottom, this cult member stared at us with their head cocked to the left, exposing a soulless eyeball and an evil grin. We’ve never been so terrified to walk past someone before.

Because crew members were either cast as a cult member or a crew member, there wasn’t too much variety in terms of characters but it’s easily forgiven based on how well UNDead in the Water executed this year’s concept.

Costuming Score: 7.25

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Costuming Review:

Overall, the costumes worked and help to further convey the plot line of The Gathering. Each of the cult members are dressed in black hooded cloaks, have milky eyes, and wear the top half of other crew members’ faces. The prosthetic half-faces blended well into the cult members’ actual faces, and each piece was accentuated with blood around the edges. It’s an unnerving sight to see cult members standing in the middle of the deck or inside rooms of the ship staring at you, motionless, and with weapons in their hands.

We managed to come across the Captain and Chef of the ship and both were appropriately dressed for their respective roles. Any remaining crew members were in more casual clothing and tended to either hide in the shadows or were in the process of being hunted down by the cult so we didn’t get as close of a look at the finer details of their costumes. While what we saw looked good, the story didn’t allow for as much costume variety as we had hoped. We would have loved to see more recognizable crew members or even hints of who the crew member used to be before they joined the cult.

Customer Service Score: 8.95

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Customer Service Review:

The customer service at UNDead in the Water was top-notch. Everyone we encountered was more than helpful and gave clear instructions on how to make your night a success. The haunt utilized timed entry tickets to help with crowd flow and security was on-site to make sure everyone had a safe evening.

The ship is currently parked at Sparkman Wharf, which is home to a container park full of delicious food and drinks. It’s the perfect spot to either build up your liquid courage before you enter the attraction or unwind to celebrate surviving. In talking with the crew at the haunt, we learned the boat had to be repositioned twice due to Hurricane Ian. That’s no small feat and we want to give a special shoutout to the entire team for dealing with those challenges.

We had a little difficulty finding the haunt at first as we did not see any signs navigating you to Sparkman Wharf in the streets. We encourage UNDead in the Water to utilize a little more directional signage to help guests traveling from outside of Tampa. There is a parking garage across the street or you can park in the Florida Aquarium lot, which is a 5-10 minute walk from Sparkman Wharf.

Immersion Score: 8.68

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Immersion Review:

The American Victory Ship speaks for itself here. You’re in a haunt that takes place on a WWII cargo ship and the storyline is about a WWII cargo ship that an evil spirit and her cult have overtaken. You can’t get any more immersive than that. Even if you don’t scare easily or are on the fence about going, we promise you’ll walk out of the attraction completely mind blown based on the ship itself. The team does a great job of transitioning the ship from daytime to nighttime operation, and it’s an immersive sight to behold.

Before entering the haunt, a video is projected on the side of the ship, which helps explain the storyline. We didn’t see any queue actors this year to help set the tone further, and it was something we missed. Once you exit the haunt, don’t forget to take a selfie at their photo op to prove to your friends and family that you survived!

Special FX Score: 7.4

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Special FX Review:

Since the ship has to operate as a museum during the day, UNDead in the Water does have the challenge of transitioning to a night time haunt in the evening. While the ship did utilize colored lighting (lots of reds as the theme suggests), strobes, and some sound effects, we’d like to see more of these effects to help heighten the fear. We noticed exposed speakers and strobe lights that could have been better covered up and those finer details will help improve the special effects in the coming years.

When we first boarded the ship, we did hear the voice of the evil spirit as we walked down a tight hallway. Throughout the haunt, the spirit would pop up through the power of projections and it was so neat when it would happen. These types of effects work really well in the tight ship setting and we hope UNDead in the Water continues to embrace those effects in 2023.

Scare Factor Score: 8.55

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Scare Factor Review:

UNDead in the Water pulses groups through the haunt allowing you to navigate the corridors of the American Victory Ship at your own pace and take in some of the finer details. We didn’t catch up to the party in front of us until the very end and that was only because they were moving at a snail’s pace due to how frightened they were. The spacing adds to the solitude you’ll feel onboard the ship and ramps the scare factor up ten fold. You’ll feel lost as you head up and down through the various decks of the ship with the feeling that the only way you’re escaping is at the hands of a cult member.

Every possible corner, room, porthole, and hallway feel deadly and you’ll be nervous to walk by or through every single one of them. The suspense remains at a 10 and when you finally get that jump scare, it’s a feeling of relief. UNDead in the Water holds you in it’s tight fist and doesn’t let go for 15 minutes. Actors were not afraid to scare everyone in our group and commonly went for the person in the middle. Just when we thought “there’s no way an actor will scare us at the top of this staircase,” we were quickly proven wrong and sent running down the deck.

The ending becomes a barrage of actors (in a good way) from all sides and the final actor we saw told us “I’ll see you in your nightmares tonight.” Well, she wasn’t lying.

Entertainment & Value Score: 7.96

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E&V Review:

UNDead in the Water is a single attraction haunt that takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes to walk through. Single tickets start at $24 and go up to $34 depending on demand and the day of the week, which makes this attraction on the more expensive side. A $2 Military discount is offered.

Touring the ship and its many decks is worth the price alone, but your bill for the night can add up quickly between parking in Downtown Tampa and your admission to the haunt. If you go, you will not leave disappointed, and the businesses at Sparkman Wharf provide extra hours of fun after you walk through the haunt.

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Pics We Took From Our Visit:

Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 5.43 out of 10

Aurelia – 10/10October 26, 2018
Amazing great set up great experience they really do a good job to make you feel part of it. …show more Definitely worth going to. Not only are you part of an interactive escape/haunt but you see the inside of the boat along with an amazing view of the port of Tampa well planned out hope they do it again next year

Kelsey King – 8.7/10October 17, 2020
It was my first year hearing about this attraction, and I’m so glad I knew someone who worked in it! …show more I’m they type of person to react in a happy way when it comes to being startled. It’s hard for me to get scared, however, the setting and the atmosphere was really well thought out and placed. Before we entered and there’s the ‘doctor’ that gives you the cleaning solution (hand sanitizer). That person left a WONDERFUL impression, because after describing the ‘color changing means your infected’ situation, she stopped on my hands a little bit longer due to food coloring that stained my hands earlier that day. Inside the ship, The spacers were really into it when you come across the first set of stairs (we were in around 8:20). I felt bad for some of these people that kept rambling about ‘getting them off the ship’ and I just wanted to take them with me. Also the person at the outside who peeked around the corner, immediately fled, and then when you got to the other side they rattled the door a bit and leaned on the chain divider. Please emphasize to your actors that they need to care for their bodies every night. These people had such great movement and were making so much noise. I had a really fun time and would absolutely go again!

Ricky D Hayes – 2/10October 14, 2023
I was expecting a wow factor for $35 per ticket. It was a 12 minute walk through a musky ship with …show more very few scares, most of the actors/actresses were pointing you where to walk and telling you to watch your step through the ship. This would be scary for ages 5-15 yet not worth $35. Neighborhood haunts are better.

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Past Awards

2018 Awards

Best location for a Haunt (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

Actor Shout Out - Shirtless Zombie on open deck (Also Makeup Artist) - Dedication to aggressive and dynamic scares (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

Actor Shout Out - Transforming Captain – Dedication to storytelling and selling transformation effect (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

Past Awards

2018 Awards

Best location for a Haunt (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

Actor Shout Out - Shirtless Zombie on open deck (Also Makeup Artist) - Dedication to aggressive and dynamic scares (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

Actor Shout Out - Transforming Captain – Dedication to storytelling and selling transformation effect (Given by: Team Giraffic Shark)

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