Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.
by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 7, 2016 at about 8 p.m.
Submitted: Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Here we go, it’s that time of year again! It’s October, which can only mean it is haunt season! My first haunt of the season took me to Slinger, WI, that’s where Dwelling of Despair is located. Dwelling of Despair, which I will refer to as DoD from here on out, was a little off the beaten path which if you aren’t paying attention, is very easy to pass right up. When we arrived at DoD the first thing I noticed was the signage isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately for them the only people on the road they’re located on, are there for them. No need to be fancy if nobody is going to see it.
It was strangely dead for a Friday night, we were given our tickets and told go wait. But wait where? There were a few places that looked like they could be the waiting area, but wasn’t really told which was right. We walked past an empty room with refreshments; could this be our waiting spot? Probably not, it was, like I stated before, empty. Ah, there was a built up room with benches and a few “dudes” sitting, we’ve found our waiting room! After not gaining entrance because it was roped off at both ends, I finally decided to ask where we were supposed to go. I was brought back to the front of the room and a guy let us in. Kind of annoying when you get no direction right off of the bat. By the time we got into the waiting area the aforementioned “dudes” were gone, so it was just us there. The gentleman working in the waiting area was very friendly and asked if this was our first time at DoD. He also told us to sit, as it would be a little bit (we probably waited 80 seconds, I totally could have remained standing!) I was a bit confused about the lack of an attendance. The man explained where we would walk, and sent us on out way.
The haunt itself is comprised of an outside and an inside. In the beginning you walk through some woods, which is always awesome in my mind! Something about that crisp autumn air and the anticipation of something jumping out at you always excites me. This area was pretty good, and was longer than I figured it would be. You’ll eventually end up at a door that you’ll need to knock on to gain entrance. I was pleasantly surprised by what greeted me, and unfortunately that would be one of the only highlights of the inside section.
The inside was pretty cookie cutter haunted house, they had all the decorations, and they used them well. The problem I had with this section was the underuse of actors and the overuse of animatronics. I’m a huge fan of animatronics; in fact I’d say I’m a sucker for them! I love a good technology based scare, but this place had too many, and they were unfortunately either old/over used or cheap.
At one point we walked into a room, a vampire looking fella lifted an unidentifiable box and something was there, just waiting to pop out. We waited for a good 15 seconds for something to happen, then it did… Super anticlimactic, as the vampire remained silent until it happened. It was equally sad and embarrassing. One room we entered had an actor dressed like a vampire as well. She asked if we wanted to meet Dracula, we of course said yes. She asked us for the password, and I, being the polite boy that I am, said “please.” She told me I was wrong, and said the password started with a “D” and rhymes with “acula” Duh, the password to see Dracula IS “Dracula”. We entered the room where we were to meet the great Count Dracula, and… and… No Dracula to be found. Wait, what? Why go through all that trouble of a password if there isn’t even a Dracula in the end.
The actors they did have in there were okay. My biggest issue, beyond the shortage of said actors, was the number of bad masks I saw on them. More than one actor jumped out at us, said something and all I could focus on was the mouth that never moved. I get wanting masks to avoid time consuming makeup sessions, but cheap masks are a terrible substitute.
A couple of the actors ruined the moment for me, the first of which I’m not going to blame completely. We entered one room and the actress in it was really great! Problem was there was a walky talky in that room and it kept going off. Someone wanted to know were someone was really bad, and we all found out that he was in the house working. The actress tried her best to play it off, doing the whole ‘she’s not crazy, we are the crazy ones for saying that we heard something’ routine, but after while she had to drop it and said someone left it in that room and she apologized.
The second moment ruiner happened after we exited the house. There’s a pretty fantastic maze you’ll hit right after the house, and it is SUPER foggy! I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be that foggy, but it was that night, and it was really hard to find your way. I liked this because you really had to feel around, it wasn’t easy. Well, it wasn’t easy until someone came up behind me and said “You gotta go that way” and hurried us out of the maze, which was the end of the haunt. Uggg, whatever redeeming qualities that maze gave to the haunt itself, that person took it all away. Let me figure it out! In all I’d say DoD is a less than great haunt with some chincy flaws that made it not one of my favorites. I think this place would be perfect for haunt novices that want to jump but aren’t into heart pounding tense attractions.