Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.
Submitted: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
We went to the Hill Has Eyes on a Sunday night around 9:30. Timing was a bit of a question within our visit: according to their website, their box office closes at 10pm, but when looking at their Facebook, they had 11pm listed. Their official closing time is stated, with their website stating they close approximately one hour after the box office closes. This is just something to be aware of when planning your trip – get there early to avoid both crowds and the box office closing times. We bought our tickets online ahead of time, which allowed us to bypass the box office.
Although this haunt is very long with a lot of different areas, they didn’t seem like they had their full staff that evening, probably due to the fact that it was a Sunday night. Fewer actors meant a lot of moments for scares were missed and we spent a lot of time walking alone. As a primarily outdoor haunt, there is a less of a sense of anticipation for what's to come (as you can see it in front of you), and less control of lighting, sound, etc. I also felt they utilized props in areas that actors could have performed better. There were also missing some key elements that could have really improved our experience. For example it had rained the day before, and the ground was still extremely muddy and slippery – some hay on the trail could have helped improve safety. Another thing to note would be the restrooms, which even on a slow night, didn’t seem to be receiving a lot of attention from the staff, so make sure you bring hand sanitizer along with you.
CONTAINMENT: A HOODED EXPERIENCE
This was shorter than I remembered from my last visit in 2014; a brief walk through some halls with a dark hood. In previous years, they had a string or a handrail to hold on but there didn’t seem to be one this year – just a feature I would approach with caution. Nothing popped out on while we were hooded, and soon we were removing the hoods. From this point on we walked through semi-indoor halls with a few medical scares until entering into the first waiting area. Unfortunately I felt this was the first example of a continuing theme – presenting areas with a lot of anticipation that didn’t meet expectations.
This area has some great moments, including scary makeup and amazing animal masks. The story was a bit muddy, but we enjoyed walking through the salvage yard (particularly the bus) and the actors we encountered along the way. This area and the next one were a little blurry in their themes, although they had a stop in between of them.
I found this area to be the most confusing. I enjoyed the "mutant" makeup, but there were several moments of religious-type scares that didn't really make sense to the story. This area definitely seemed the most "random" in terms of the people and sets they had to scare people. In either this section or the one before it (hard to remember because these two did blend together), we received an electric shock. I remember this situation from 2 years ago when I last attended, but I was shocked (literally!) at how strong the feeling was! This is definitely something to be prepared for when coming into this haunt; as we were feeling it still several minutes later.
I found this area to be the biggest disappointment. It is an amazing feature of this Complex, a real ski lift that is really long and goes over an amazing creepy hill. However, on our night, the laser tag that goes on underneath it didn't seem to be going on at all (whether from lack of interest or not operating, I don't know), so it was simply a ski lift ride. I definitely think adding some actors or props to the ski lift itself, as well as the event below would add significantly to this element. This element is especially frustrating to me because it is so unique and has so much potential for scare.
Some great actors in this area, but once again, a lot of opportunities missed, particularly in the maze portion of the haunt. We experienced 1 or 2 jump scares when going through the entire house, but it does include a spinning room. We realized after that we were the last people coming through the haunt for the night (of the maybe 15 other people we saw), and I felt like the actors were a bit checked out. Right after we exited (this is the last area) they started coming out and going down the hill to go home, which I felt was a bit unprofessional. Some of them kept acting and taking photos and things with us, but most of them were taking off elements of their costume and walking to their cars.