November 17, 2017, 06:10:27 PM
News: Visit a haunt in Virginia this season!
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Author Topic: The Haunted Mill - 2017  (Read 76 times)
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« on: October 22, 2017, 03:11:48 PM »

The Haunted Mill
Date Attended: 10/20/2017
Submitted by: Screaming_Diana

Scare Factor:  5/5
The Haunted Mill has really upped their game over the past couple years.  I hardly recognize the inside due to their overhaul of the haunt.  They have excellent use of lighting especially down their dark narrow hallways.  The subtle flickering lanterns give it the eerie feeling that I love.  Scares are totally unpredictable and I think everyone in our group was scared or startled at least once.  One member of our group is extremely hard to scare and even he got startled and jumped.  I noticed subtle temperature changes throughout the haunt especially down the hallways.  I don't think this is artificially produced which makes wandering through the mill even creepier.  I'm often annoyed by being placed in a group that has children attending as I fear, and often experience, the actors being lenient and less scary to avoid terrifying the children.  I was very pleased to see this haunt continued on with their regular haunt without making exceptions for the parents and child placed with our group.  If they had the opportunity to scare you they'd give it their all no matter how young, old, scared, or brave you were.  The mill is 120 years old and is said, by paranormal investigators, to be truly haunted.   

Actors:  5/5
There's a mix of pop scares and stalking with this bunch.  It seemed a few actors missed their timing and never reacted as the group passed by but then again I'm not sure if those were live actors or just props.  It was very difficult to tell who was real and who wasn't.  A lot of haunts have actors that are front focused leaving the back of the group void of scares but these guys could hold a scare like no other and I find that terrifying.  I expect to walk into a room and someone or something jump out.  I did not experience much of this here.  They let you enter and slowly walk through wondering where in the world the monsters are and exactly when are they going to appear.  They give you just enough time to get very anxious about the set before jumping out and scaring the pee outta you.   Several of the actors spent time interacting with the group and even made special mention my friends beard as he ventured through the haunt.  Actor make-up, masks, and costumes were well done.  A special shout out to the twisted backward walking exorcist looking girl.  You were freaky. 

Set Design/Props/Fx:  5/5
The haunt is set in an actual old mill.  This year projections of the old mill workers and eerie images were displayed by the haunt entrance.  It was a little creepy seeing actual footage of people who once worked there many years ago and to know that they could possibly still be haunting the place.  Their new projections were fantastic and used in ways I haven't noticed at other haunts.  The lightening and sounds of thunder set the mood for a scary good time.  The black and white tunnel room was a standout for me and was very disorienting.  It's a simple yet very effective scene.  They demonstrate very good use of subtle lighting that gives off just enough glow for safety and provides a nice ambiance for a haunt.  The scenes are set up in such a way that actors can easily camouflage themselves or make themselves appear to be a stationary prop.  I had the hardest time figuring out if things were props or actors and often I didn't know until I was eye to eye with them and either they launched toward me or I was able to pass without screaming.  Either way it's terrifying because I was so nervous from the unknown.  A lot of work and detail has gone into their props.  Again this year you enter the haunt from the side and exit through the front which I feel adds length to the haunt.  The queue line isn't just another boring waiting point.  It's equipped with line actors and fun projections of the mill giving you a glimpse of the scary things that await you once inside.         

Value:  5/5
Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under.  You get a lot of scares for your dollars here.  They also offer combo tickets for the haunt, mini golf, and escape rooms.  Fast pass tickets are available for $35 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. 

Length:  5/5
The haunt seemed much longer this year.  It's a decent length with a lot of scares and cool things to see.  You can make a night of it and stay for 3D mini golf or try out their escape room.  The length of time you spend here depends on the number of activities you decide to participate in. 

Other:
There is a small parking fee of $3.  They have a food truck outside with different food/snack options available.

Overall Impression:  5/5
The Haunted Mill continues to get better and better every year.  The changes they've made have greatly increased the scares and the overall enjoyment of this haunt.  They often have special guests making appearances at the mill.  The night we went Eddie Munster (Butch Patrick) from The Munsters was there. The highlight of the night was hearing an actor ask the small child behind us "Can I kill your Mommy?" to which the child responded "sure, just leave me alone."  It was brilliant!   I also loved watching the clowns at the exit fist bump a small child and congratulate her on making it all the way through then immediately rev up their chainsaws and chase after her.  They showed no mercy and it was beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting The Haunted Mill this season and look forward to seeing what changes they make for next year.  Check them out you wonít regret it.
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 10:12:38 PM »

The Haunted Mill
Date visited: 10/20/2017
Submitted by:  packbacker

Scare Factor: 5/5
I'm a hard person to startle.  In fact it hadn't happened all season until I visited The Haunted Mill.  I fully admit that a well timed scare got me to jump which no other attraction has done this season so kudos!  The Haunted Mill delivers a lot of action in a small space.  Rooms are fairly crowded, hallways are narrow, and the actors/props are well spaced accordingly.  The actors have a good sense of timing and also don't just settle for an easy startle scare.  Every member of our group jumped at least once and there was some running at the end of it all! There are also a few props that will shake, rattle, and roll to elicit more screams from patrons.  The scare that got me was simple yet well placed and I didn't see it coming. 

Props/Sets/Fx: 5/5
The Mill is well appointed.  Of particular note are some cool projections in the queue area with animated portraits, books, and more to entertain guests as they wait in line.  These are well tuned to deliver a seamless look.  The long hallways are often made up to resemble Victorian England with subtle flickering lights.  There is a decent amount of gore in certain sets as well as some larger animatronic props. For an attraction with very narrow spaces they pack in the visuals.  The actors have great makeup and costumes as well as some sliding capabilities...   It's often difficult, in my opinion, to take an entirely indoor attraction and make it suitably scary.  The Haunted Mill does this with aplomb with very little space allowing you to see you're in a regular building. 

Actors: 5/5
The Haunted Mill has well spaced actors.  While they don't feature a cast of hundreds there's just the right number for the surroundings. These guys had a great sense of timing with the ability to hold off on the scare until the middle or tail end of a group.  Some good verbal interaction was had with the group with one actor asking the young child with us "Is it okay if I kill your mommy?".  For the record she said yes as long as they left her alone.  One actress had a great contortionist bit that was truly freaky and the clowns at the end were really into their schtick.  Most actors also rarely settled for a pop scare but rather electing to pursue the screamer in the group.

Length: 3.5/5
There is limited space here due to the attraction being housed completely indoors.  That being said, they send you back and forth, to and fro, and around again trying to maximize their space with the entrance on the side of the building and the exit in the front.  Allow fifteen to twenty minutes to complete the walk through. 

Value: 4/5
Tickets are $16 with packages available for mini golf and fast pass access. 

Other:
Parking is $3.  The Haunted Mill also offers an escape room experience, blacklight mini-golf, and more.  A food truck and hot dog cart were on site the night we visited as well as a guest appearance from Butch Patrick from The Munsters fame.

Overall: 5/5
The Haunted Mill gave me everything I was looking for.  It had an ominous vibe to it, some great visuals, and I finally jumped this October. The fact that the haunt is homed in a 120 year old reportedly haunted old mill is just the icing on top!  The projections out front were something I haven't encountered at other haunts and really were eye catching.  Everyone in our group remarked how slick the whole thing felt from the sets to the actors to a few notable props.  The family that accompanied our group through said they had a remarkable time as well.  Props go out to the Mill staff for not playing down to a kid but rather giving it their all.  We appreciated it and I think in the end the kid did too as she knew she had survived one of the scariest indoor haunts around!
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 03:44:11 PM »

The Haunted Mill
Date Attended: 10/20/17
Submitted by: mjones
 
Scare Factor: 5/5
Well, I think every single person in my group jumped, canít do much better than that!  I would put this one more toward the fun side of the scare spectrum than the truly hardcore, but seeing as how this haunt shares space with a miniature golf course, you can understand why theyíd want to strike a slightly more family friendly tone.  When you couple that with the relatively tight footprint for the entire building, it means the scares are all about placement and timing, and thatís where this one makes its bones.  The scares are really well thought through for the space they occupy, so they function much better than lots of trails that just try to be as gross and extreme as possible.  The Haunted Mill is a study in being effective rather than just being there.
 
Actors: 5/5
I get the impression that this is an incredibly well trained troop of actors. As I mentioned above, this haunt centers on the timing of the scares, and these actors knew their roles, knew their best scare spots, and then were comfortable enough to chase and pursue whenever the opportunity arose.  For a trail that relies this much on younger actors, this is no small feat!  Kudos to whoever wrangled all that.  Special points to the contortionist girl we met in an early hallway!  Everybody just stopped and watched her for a second, and then I think she got Screaming Diana like a dozen times after that.  It was great!  Also the kid who asked if he could kill our mom, that was good!  Donít think Iíve ever heard THAT one before!  We laughed about that all night!
 
Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
I know I keep coming back to the tight spaces here, but it really is a challenge for a haunt in a somewhat urban setting like this, and itís all the more impressive that they do such a good job with that!  You never feel the lack of anything with it all being indoors, and even their plastic walls feel more study than your usual trash bag variety.  My favorite set was the outdoor/indoor part with the old Victorian lamps on the wall.  There wasnít even a major pop scare in there, it just looked great!  Again, well thought out and executed!
 
Length: 3/5
Hereís where the lack of space really shows up, though again they do a pretty masterful job in maximizing what they had.  I swore they had added onto the building, but they didnít.  It was just that well conceived.  It isnít as long as many trails, but somehow it really doesnít suffer too much from the lack of it!
 
Value: 4/5
$16 is very reasonable, and there are packages if you want to play putt-putt after with blacklights and such.  I was totally satisfied with the value of this trail, and I think itís price is totally reasonable!
 
Overall: 4/5
I really enjoyed this trail.  It strikes a nice balance between intimidating scares and a fun, carnival atmosphere.  I also like that it just doesnít feel like other haunts in the area; it has a bit more civilization around it, and everything about it feels unique.  There are no stock characters, and every scene is designed for the space available and the feel it needed.  It had been a couple years since I visited the Haunted Mill, and to me it feels twice as good as it was before!  If youíre in the market for something different than all the campgrounds and haunted forests you find around, this is the place for you!  Plus, they can open rain or shine!  Youíll have a good time here, I feel very safe in saying that no matter what!
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