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News: Visit a North Carolina haunt this weekend!
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Author Topic: Night Watch Haunt- Hillsville, VA  (Read 3154 times)
packbacker
Completely Haunted
*****
Posts: 707


« on: September 28, 2014, 08:13:57 AM »

Night Watch Haunt- Hillsville, VA
Date visited:  9/26/14


Scare Factor: 1.5/5 -
Situated in an actual old jail, Night Watch has a unique, creepy setting. It's a small building that utilizes two stories for their attraction.  The lower level has some winding hallways with sheets and body bags before ascending a stair case to the jail level.  While some of the sets look good the scares fall flat in most cases.  Honestly the actors seemed confused as to where to direct our group.  You make a circle around the cells and then we are left standing there wondering where to go.  One actor took our group one direction to a scare-less area, another actor took the group to the "chapel" with no scare, another towards an electrocution area and then we were just left on our own.  We literally stood there wondering what to do.  Finally we were told we had to go down where we came up.....sigh.  I understand having to utilize a small space but 1) have a scare per room and 2) you have to guide patrons if the next direction is not discernible.  Any scares that were mustered earlier quickly evaporate as it turns to frustration trying to navigate the area.   


Actors: 2.5/5 -
The numbers are adequate for this small attraction.  The folks were the queue line were witty and fun.  These same actors, though, work inside the attraction and aren't nearly as entertaining.  There is some pursuit and some light touching.  Unfortunately selling the scare fell flat in both the chapel and electrocution area......I really have no idea what they were going for there with the preacher and devil guy.  It was awkward standing there while the actors simply floundered. 


Set Design/Props/FX - 3.5/5
The actors makeup is outstanding for the most part.  They looked great.  The "creeper" appearance walking down the alley towards the haunt was great!  Costumes were solid and the one laboratory set was excellent.  The building itself has an inherent creepy feel. 


Length: 2/5 -
The space is pretty small and the entire attraction can be done quite quickly.....if you don't end up in the purgatory of standing at the top of the staircase.  Sometimes a quick trip will leave you wanting more; this time we just wanted it to end due to the frustration of not knowing where to go.

Value: 2.5/5 -
Tickets are $10 which is about right.  You get some good visuals, an occasional startle, but also confusion and frustration.

Other- Free parking.  It looked like there was a concession tent.  Despite a posted opening time of 7:30pm the first group did not go in until nearly 8:20pm without any explanation.

Overall: 1.5/5 -
Night Watch appears to be a newer haunt.  It has a unique locale but overall falls very flat due to some logistical problems.  First of all opening nearly an hour after your posted hours without an explanation or apology is poor form.  It wasn't due to actors getting into makeup or places....the majority of the actors inside were outside scaring patrons.  Secondly, a haunt needs to have an orderly flow.  If you have a narrow space that circles around account for that and have an actor divert people back downstairs instead of directing them in 3 separate directions to non scary areas.  Thirdly each set/room should have a scare or focal point.  Awkward silences for three minutes aren't scary- they're frustrating.  When patrons look at you and say "Where are we supposed to go?" and start looking behind props to find the way out is a clue that you either need to sell a scare or move those people to the next area.  The sum of the experience is a shame because there was some truly outstanding makeup/costumes for a small haunt as well as the intriguing aspect of being set in an abandoned jail. 
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"You can't piss on hospitality.  I won't allow it!"
screaming_diana
Completely Haunted
*****
Posts: 243


« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2014, 03:21:40 PM »

Night Watch Haunt
Date Attended: 09/26/2014

Scare Factor:  2.5/5
This Haunt is located in a creepy old jail house.  Waiting in line was much more terrifying than going through the actual haunt.  There were a lot of actors hanging around outside the haunt that enjoyed taunting and scaring folks as they waited to go in.  Once inside the haunt the scares dropped quite a bit.  The jail looked amazing but it was so confusing as to where to go in the haunt that you lost focus on the haunt itself.   

Actors:  2.5/5
The actors outside did a great job terrorizing the line but once inside some of these same actors had a hard time producing a scare.  The big creature slowly walking down the alley toward the haunt looked amazing.  He was slow moving and didnít speak but he did have some entertaining dance moves.  We did have a couple actors chase us to our cars and even try to get in as we were leaving. 

Set Design/Props/FX:  3/5
The haunt has a great location but unfortunately they only have a small space to work with.  Most of the costumes looked amazing. The sets looked well done and walking through actual jail cells was creepy but there was no real flow to things.  You go into a room, someone attempts a scare and then you have to turn around and exit the same way you came in.  This is fine but you need actors pointing you in the right direction if it isnít clearly marked.  Unfortunately the actors seemed as confused as we did. 

Length:  1/5
We were at this haunt for a very long time but that was because we waited in line for almost an hour for the haunt to start.   Once inside the haunt is very short but I was frustrated from all the confusion and ready for it to be over. 

Value:  2/5
If they get their act together and figure out a decent flow to the haunt I think the price is ok at $10 a person. 

Other:
The staff was friendly and even asked for our feedback after we finished the haunt.  This shows that they truly do want you to enjoy their haunt and want to know how to improve.  Waiting in line for almost an hour, with no explanation, just for the haunt to start was frustrating.  Waiting is fine if they are moving people through slowly and in small groups but to simply wait that long for the haunt to start was frustrating.  They did have a DJ and some refreshments available.

Overall Impression:  2/5
This was my first haunt of the season and probably a good warm up haunt.  If you are looking for a long extravagant haunt you will likely be disappointed but for locals looking for something fun to do on a Friday or Saturday night I think you would have a good time. 
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