Please note: this review is for the 2014 season rather than the current season.
by creep after attending on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at about 9:30 p.m.
Submitted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
This was my first time ever attending The Hill Has Eyes and I must say I was pleased with my visit. This is only the haunt's third year in operation and what they've done with those three years is pretty impressive.
First of all, Hill Has Eyes crew, you need signage on the road at the bottom of the hill directing people to the top - it was very confusing with baseball games going on to know exactly where to go. Once at the top of the hill and parked, however, the environment sets the mood right away... for the most part - a lot of bright lights far away that were confusing, but made sense later on.
The attraction starts with "Hooded" which is a really interesting idea and could really build anxiety if it was done properly. Essentially, you place a black hood over your head and walk down the hill by yourself to the rest of the attraction (oh, and you need to sign a waiver before doing this) with only your hand on a rope to guide you. At first, it was unsettling walking by yourself like this, but there were a few things I didn't like: 1- my hand kept hitting the wooden poles holding the rope; that started to hurt. 2- you walked for a long time without anything happening, so I got used to it and it was no longer unsettling. 3- scares were attempted, but failed because I could hear actors walking on the gravel. And 4- there was no ending to it.... just "take the hoods off and move on." Oh, and what was with the military? Didn't match anything else at the event.... but, nonetheless, a very cool idea and nice way to start the haunt.
After Hooded, you come upon an open area with a fire pit and what would normally be a bar on busy nights. What was cool about this, was you had time to do the 2 following trails as you pleased, having time to sit at the fire and take a break before or in between the trails. Nice touch!!
The first of the two trails started off amazing. It was a junkyard scene with cars everywhere and actors with masks looking like they were from "The Strangers." What I noticed about this haunt right away, was how raw the environments were. There wasn't anything fancy about the trails, but you were in dark woods with junk and crazy people everywhere which in it of itself is creepy. The first trail had a few good memorable places and really good jump scares, but one thing I didn't understand was the story line... There were several actors claiming it was "their land" and random actors saying they needed help and they were trapped... but I never understood why because my life or safety never felt endangered. It never felt like someone was going to take me and put me with them. Nonetheless, good scares and a good first trail.
The second trail was easily my favorite of the night. Jump scares left and right. It's hard to get me, but this was the trail that made me jump at least twice. As for the two people with me, they were screaming and laughing all over the place. At one point in particular, an actor with a boom stick had my buddy dancing he was jumping around so scared, great job there! The only thing that concerned me about trail #2 was certain points where I couldn't see anything on very hazardous terrain. I remember there being some steps that were unlit that could be very dangerous. But despite that, this trail was great. Again, they used the environment to their advantage. The ending of the trail, which I imagine was some kind of satanic cult ritual was really nifty... but it seemed empty. I think they need to expand on this idea (oh, and they should probably finish the facade so I'm not looking at 2x4's with the tags still on them...). But it was a nice setup for the next attraction -
The scare lift. Really cool and yet there wasn't anything to it. It's literally a really old ski lift and the entrance platform is surrounded by black tarp and red lights inside. I would do a better job of covering up the mechanism on the demon animatronic, but the area made you question whether or not to go on. The actors were handing out fliers explaining the ghost story behind the scare lift (as well as coupons to the bar) which would have been nice to read while waiting in line on busy nights - but we didn't have to wait so we got right on and read later. The lift itself, nothing happened. You just went up a ski lift. This is where the bright lights I mentioned earlier comes into play - the ski lift lights were on. I'm sure they have to be, but it would have been cool to ride in the dark.
Finally, we got to the Carnivore satans carnival end thing.... which was a huge let down. There was no point to this and it was done so poorly, which is a shame cause it had the right ingredients, but whoever runs this part isn't doing their job right. There was nothing psychotic or carnivoristic about this trail. Nothing. There was one actor who said she was going to play darts with my face as the target that even remotely matched the theme. The slide was fun, and might I say the teddy bear at the end of it was hilarious. They had a claustrophobia as your "anal exam" which, while funny, 1 - doesn't make any sense in a carnival, and 2- it was in the middle of the trail with nothing before or after it... it was totally random. The finale of the carnival was what I believe to be a sideshow with several booths setup. I could tell they were short staffed, but there wasn't anything going on. None of the actors were aggressive, I couldn't read any signs, and the sideshow only took about 30 seconds to walk through. To top it all off, they relied on a clown with a chainsaw as the final scare... how many times has THAT been done.... Not every haunted attraction needs clowns... this carnival doesn't work, so find a better way to end your attraction.
I think the Hill Has Eyes will continue to improve and even this year I would absolutely recommend checking it out. Even though the carnival was an awful way to end. the rest of it was just pure Halloween haunted trail fun with lots of scares along the way. I must say, though, this is absolutely an adult attraction. Actors didn't appear to have any rules about cussing and the F-bomb was flying all over the place. Not to mention alcohol can be purchased at several locations.
If you can, visit on a Thursday where admission is only $25. The price goes up on Fridays and Saturdays and I think $25 for about an hour of trails is my top dollar on this one. Overall though, a very fun place to go this Halloween season.