Saturday, September 29, 2012

Supernatural 2012

                Supernatural is a haunt in Villa Rica, Georgia that we attended on Friday, September 28, 2012.  This was their opening night and their first year (sort of).  Let's be clear, this really isn't their first year in our opinion.  Supernatural may be in its first year, but it has earlier incarnations which were known as Psycho Shack and Psycho 13.  The owners also did some previous work with Six Flags for Fright Fest.  After our experience we want to point out that our newest pet peeve is haunts that change locations and names, but are still essentially running from the premise of their previously existing haunt.  When we entered Supernatural we kept looking at each other and thinking that this felt very familiar to us.  Once we spoke with the owners we realized exactly why it felt so familiar.  We have attended this haunt in its previous forms and we were sorely disappointed.  It was our decision not to go back to it again, but we were tricked this time since the name and location were different.  Trying not to hold this against them was somewhat of a challenge.  Had we not had the special rate that they offered for their opening experience we might not have been as okay with things as we were.

                We love haunted houses and we want to help anyone who wants to hear our feedback as customers.  No, we aren't experts on haunted houses, and this isn't even a job for us.  We have a passion for attending haunts, which carries over into this hobby (okay, it's an obsession).  It is always our intent to help haunts grow and become better, though sometimes we find it hard to figure out what exactly to say.  In this case it is hard to decide how to discuss Supernatural without letting our prior bias against them have an impact, so we will just be straightforward and tell you that it is an issue. 

                When we entered the haunt we met the initial character whose job it appeared to be to attempt to scare us and perhaps tease us about it.  After his first attempt he commented, "That didn't scare you?"  We promptly said no and moved on.  Upon his second attempt was unsuccessful he again asked, "That didn't scare you either?" and we looked at him as if he were crazy.  He then called out to the other actor nearby, "This one's going to be hard to scare."  Seriously?  Did he really just say that?  Yes, he did.  Right in front of us and completely out of any character.  Someone needs to pull him aside and explain haunt acting to him...soon.  We are sure that there were some quality characters within Supernatural, but the sad part of it is that they do not stand out as memorable to us.  There was even a specific actor at the entrance who came up to a window and yelled out to us, "Get out of my house."  Sadly, we hadn't even entered the house part yet, so his attempt made no sense.  There was even a need for us to be bitten by the vampire at the door, and this doesn't make any sense with the story of the house.  There is nothing in the story that we heard about vampires, so biting us was bizarre to say the very least.  Yes, she is "biting" you in some way that is meant to leave marks from a stamp or something on you for some unknown purpose.

                The theme throughout the haunted attraction was sparse.  We can say that it was okay, but not quite good and certainly not great.   We had seen many of the set pieces before and in one case we actually walked into a room with only a set and no actor or scare.  That is always a difficult disappointment to mask.  Their work is definitely steps above black plastic sheeting walls, but it isn't fully fleshed out to keep the guest in the world that they are trying to create for them.  The storyline that goes with the haunt is also not fully matched with the sets inside of the haunt.  If they actually are, and we missed something somewhere, then it must not be well enough. 

                The best parts of this haunt involved a confusing situation with a rather confused bride, who could have waited a little longer before helping us out of our predicament.  They also have found some great ways to do dark.  Supernatural has several areas that use the absence of all light to their fullest advantage.  This is a difficult skill for many haunts, and we would love to see them capitalize on their success in this arena.  Though there were certainly areas that could be improved upon, we hope that they are going to work on them as the season progresses so that they can redeem themselves. 

                It really doesn't matter if a haunt scares you or not, so long as it entertains you.  If you aren't screaming OR laughing then you have to wonder what happened.  In this situation we were neither laughing nor screaming when we exited Supernatural.  It is possible that we were just too accustomed to the types of things that they were doing, but we have a feeling that they just have a lot of room for growth.  We have decided to rate Supernatural with 1 and 3/4 severed heads.  We hope that they will use the room which they have to grow in wisely and that we will hear wonderful things from other visitors who attend later in the season and see the changes that are made.