Of the three original mazes, one isn’t even all that original. Havoc2: Derailed is a sequel to a concept first introduced in 2010. A group of bioengineered soldiers with shaved heads suffer from intense roid rage — which gets worse when their train crashes. The “scareactors” are intense and armed, and they make the warm, claustrophobic space feel like a war zone.
As usual, Universal has crafted one house with 3D features in mind. The back story of Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance — a serial killer is tortured by his victims after his execution — is nothing special. But the effects are sufficiently disorienting, especially in one room where it’s hard to tell an inanimate prop from a person with a knife.
Urban Legends: La Llorona engages all the senses with its centuries-old tale of The Weeping Woman, a mother who drowns her children and herself. A candlelit entrance to a funeral is appropriately spooky, followed by sickly-sweet incense and tiny caskets. The sound of wailing fills the air, and some of the scenes are especially disturbing. (The entire event is not meant for kids under 13.)
While Halloween Horror Nights purists might complain about the ever-growing commercial influence, some fans seemed unfazed on opening night.
Matthew Berg, operations manager for Abandoned Haunted House Complex in Wisconsin, visited the Orlando event for the first time recently and said he thought Cabin in the Woods was the best in show.
“I like my scares to be a little more fast,” said his wife, Brittany Berg. “Cabin in the Woods was like boom, boom, boom. I didn’t know where to look.”
Our advice: Look left and right. Look straight ahead. Look behind you. Zombies and their evil allies are everywhere.