By Joseph "Skullvault" Walter
A radioactive warning has been posted on the ship, informing visitors of horrific mutations that lie within the cursed vessel, "Ignis Fatuus."
The theming is very effective, but also extremely impressive. I was surprised to see such attention to detail on the facade. The production values make it clear that the designers wanted to redefine the popular conception of what a beach-bound haunted house could be.
The attraction opens at 5 PM sharp, and costs 10 tickets to enter. I was thrilled to see that live actors would be within, and that they had the ability to touch you at their discretion. Needless to say, the continuous warnings (coupled with the incessant sound effects from the creaking hull) sent a chill down my spine and considerably amped me up.
A small group is let in at a time. Once everyone is in the first room, you get the standard safety briefing, and then watch a short video in order to set up the narrative.
In this case, it seems the North Atlantic Paranormal Society is investigating the "Ignis Fatuus" after its re-emergence from the sea, and have detected all kinds of paranormal activity, along with atomic radiation. The investigation seemingly goes awry as the mutated entities that were once the crew of the vessel arise to reclaim their ship.
The video was surprisingly well-done, as were some of the surprises in the waiting room.
After that, the group then proceeds through the entirety of the ship on their quest to escape the cursed vessel.
Alas, much like the ship itself, this is where things start to fall apart.
While the interior of the ship, the various sets, and the sheer size and length of the attraction (it was legitimately colossal compared to other comparable spook houses on the board walk) remained extremely surprising and impressive, there ended up being very few scares, and even fewer scare actors (perhaps three, in total.)
Speaking of the actors, I doubt that they received much training, because they resorted to the typical scream really loud/rely on make-up/lurk-and-linger tactics of the more amateur productions.
Making this more of a shame was that the attraction itself was seemingly perfectly designed for excellent scare set-ups, actor interactions, and more.
The atmosphere was exquisitely dreadful, and the long, empty halls filled with creepy corners and visual impairment had my muscles tensing up and my mind preparing itself for a terror, but these preparations never came to fruition.
When we exited the ride, I couldn't help but feel as though nothing happened. Considering the awesome work that went into the facade, the story, and the design, it was sad that it felt so empty with very little "scaring" taking place.
Regardless, it's an experience worth having if for only to see the sets and cavernous halls, but don't expect to feel fulfilled.
+ Great production value
+ Good story set-up
+ Excellent design
- Feels empty
- Untrained actors
- The set-up never pays off