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Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.

Hill Has Eyes

by PaigeBerrier (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at about 9:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Medium

Review

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.

FAILED ESCAPE
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.

HUNGER HOLLOW
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.

SCARE LIFT
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.

CARNIVORE
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.

Signage / Visibility / Location


This haunt is at a large Sports Complex, however, I still felt they could have used more signs. Once you started into the Complex they did have people directing parking and a large sign. There are people around to ask if you need guidance.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Very large wait area, covered, with a DJ and a bar. We saw no actors before the haunt, other than those guiding us in. They also have a fire going before the entrance to the first section. Throughout the haunt as well there are regular stops with bathrooms (portable). On the night we went, (a Sunday), none of the stops throughout had entertainment or a bar, although when I went years prior on a busier night, both of these things were there.

Actors' Performance


There were several awesome masks and makeup jobs, and some actors were really great, staying in character and going all out. However, I felt the acting was confusing in content. Some the things they were yelling seemed sort of random; they didn’t seem to be adding up to a story. There were a lot of moments for jump scares missed.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


This haunt is primarily outdoors, so it was muddy and slippery, as it had rained the day before. Use caution when walking through and make sure you are dressed appropriately in boots or sneakers you don’t mind getting dirty.

There are five separate areas of this haunt, which does provide a variety of scenarios. However, I felt they didn't utilize some of their sets to the best of their ability (no jump scares, a lot of build up with nothing happening, etc.) With it being primarily outdoors, I felt the sets suffered from a lack of intentional lighting or sound.

I also did not care for the shocks and felt they were a bit too intense for the average attendant. They are hard to avoid as well.

Length


Very long; took us about an hour and a half to get all the way through, with some stops.

Crowd Control


There was no crowd on this night, but they did have staff waiting.

Most Memorable Moment


Getting shocked; creepy animal masks.

Summary

This is a very long, mostly outdoor haunt with 5 different areas, including a hooded portion and a ski lift. Although they have a high production value and a great space, the haunt is potentially dangerous to navigate, and, in general, they didn't follow through with their scares.

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October 15th, 2019 7:47 p.m. CDT 1.27