Over the last few years the horror films slated near Halloween have been artsy fartsy duds or disasterous reimaginings of old 70’s and 80’s classics. These movies are all sold with glossy saturation ads which are often misleading and leave you with little more than a few jump scares and a sour taste in your mouth. The big summer releases are often low budget, high concept efforts that put the viewer in a relatable situation.
In order to capitalize on that trope, Blumhouse Productions in association with the Black Out Haunted House Team that almost harkens back to the old days when William Castle would get the audience into the act with gimmicks like flying Skeletons in “House On Haunted Hill” and vision-enhancing ghost viewers in “13 Ghosts.” In this case, the immersive horror comes in the guise of a traveling roadshow of four semis and some clever marketing. The Purge Breakout is an interactive horror experience more like the “Saw” franchise than “The Purge,” but it does invoke the same urgency to get to safety found in the wholesale murder movie.
The managers warn you at the outset that this is not a haunted house and well, it is and it isn’t. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be much of a payoff. And it’s designed so that very few survive the maze and its time limit for bragging rights to beating the game. You are led in groups of six, often with strangers, to the basement of an obese serial killer named Big Daddy who intends to torture and snuff you out when “the purge” begins. As the public service announcement counts down your thirty minute to “purge time,” you hear the cries of a young woman held captive. Your first puzzle is to find the keys to releasing her hand and jaw restraints so she can help lead you through the grimy carnage. The puzzles are hard and require the effort of everyone. The cramped space serves to bolster the adrenaline of it all. It’s very dark and nasty in there and every five minutes or so you get an update on your progress.
The last couple of rooms are a real bitch requiring several keys, locks and brain busters that only one percent figure out. But as a reward, you get the scare and a candid photo. “The Purge: Breakout Experience” has been touring the country since May. Dates sold out quickly in Los Angeles, prompting the owners to hold it over for another two weeks until August 3rd. If the deal is still going on, you can enter PURGE10 in the checkout code box and cut that 20 dollar ticket in half. Click here for location and time slots left. They sold out last week in a matter of hours.