We were kindly invited down to the Scare City Experience at the old Camelot theme park as there have been some major changes made to the experience compared to its debut walk around scare experience from last year. Here’s our Scare City Experience review.
Last year’s version of Scare City was a more atmospheric wander around the old abandoned park with creatures lurking outdoors but whilst pretty on the eye was completely ineffective when delivering scares.
Fast forward to 2023 and the buildings have been incorporated more into the scare surroundings as there are walkthrough mazes to indulge in through the old Camelot backdrops and even purpose built shipping container experiences to ramp up the claustrophobic nature of a true scare maze.
Having an event outdoors does dampen scares quite considerably as they found out last year but this year even the outdoor creatures you encounter are blended into the environment well enough to have the impactful jump scare moments.
From a devil standing before you in an intimidating manor to weird and wonderful characters you meet along the way it certainly feels like a more well-rounded event when it comes to the blend between indoor and outdoor experiences.
There is also a funfair at the entrance this year with a nice little range of rides to experience!
Let’s dive into each zone and deconstruct each area of this 2023 Scare City experience.
Whilst Slaughterhouse isn’t the best themed walkthrough maze you’ll ever see (think joke shop limbs hanging from the ceiling type things) the masks / costumes of each actor throughout the entirety of Scare City is impressive.
Not one of the masks used throughout Scare City is a cheap bargain bucket mask they’re all high quality and expertly crafted creations that look genuinely terrifying. I love that they went the extra mile to make the characters look as gross and incredible as they could that the lack of maze theming is more than forgivable.
More of an intimidating walkthrough than your typical jump scare experience Slaughterhouse was a nice little introduction to this years event.
The calm before the storm if you will.
A creepy little outdoor area of the park involves an encounter with a clown or two but instead of them just standing at you waving they’re interacting with groups.
There’s a twisted little carnival game that you can participate in and having dialogue with the actors in character made Carni Valley a mix of comedy and horror.
Carni Valley has certainly been shrunk down a little (it feels) compared to last year but having it condensed down makes it more intimate and personal and it provides a nice little segway into the next walkthrough section.
The animatronics in this area perfectly compliment the creepy vibe of the place, it’s a great touch and it worked just as effectively as it did last year!
Ascend to a new life as hippies guided me through the forest to meet… well.. more hippies.
Sadly Hellevate 666 didn’t hit home for me at all.
Sure, it was a nice walk through the forest but there was no real purpose to it as you were guided to meet the devil at the end.
The devil costume is incredible but compare this experience to the very impressive graveyard scene from last year’s event where the devil resided and this is a major step down.
Another weak link in the chain was once again the indoor castle asylum style walkthrough where strobe lights run riot and you’re walking around empty corridors.
A building that big should not have just 4 or 5 actors in there. There was so much empty space and most people were just nodding along to Corey Taylor screaming sick vocals over the speaker system.
I was hoping this experience would have been improved from last year but sadly it feels very much the same and having it back to back with Hellevate 666 made this part of Scare City quite lethargic.
This part of Scare City needs improving as this was the lull point of the entire walkthrough experience.
It’s at this point in your experience where you reach your halfway point. Food from £8 and £7 pints are flowing in this area with live entertainment. Sitting down and having fire breathers and stunt performers on stage doing there thing makes this area a great resting place.
Stick around for the siren though as when that goes all of the creatures you’ve encountered up until this point run riot in the food and dining area, it’s absolute chaos but it works brilliantly!
Right, after sinking down a rather questionable burger and a nice kopperberg, it was time to continue onwards on our horror journey.
Straight after dinner we were led into the best indoor maze experience of the night as Infirmary delivered in multiple areas.
It’s crazy how the indoor areas are similar to the ones we’ve been in before but just with better use of lighting, depth of field including prop locations and scene interactions made Infirmary one hell of a cool walkthrough section.
The masks were on full display and at their gory best but the scenes just worked and flowed nicely. It was jumpy and the actors within this section were more than happy to corner people and really mess with them a little.
Infirmary was the strongest indoor section by a long country mile!
Walking through a junkyard complete with real trashed cars, camper vans and more certainly delivered a creepy atmosphere.
If only there were actors within it to have the desired effect.
This space was huge and we only had two actors in this particular section which was a shame as it certainly looked the part.
Chainsaw finale at the ready for a good intimate scare experience but this section just needed some padding out with actors to really make it pop!
Shadows definitely felt reminiscent of last years event. Walking through a beautifully lit forest with fog lapping over the path infront of you whilst you encounter these creatures.
It’s certainly a nice segway walkthrough but there’s no real theme of note, it’s just a path with fancy lights. It would have been nice to have a story weaved around the forest in which you’re walking through before entering or similar.
It fell flat without context but was a nice little journey through a vibrantly lit forest.
We enter Scare City’s first shipping container maze and we were greeted with strobes on top of strobes as we walked into the maze completely blinded before creatures lurked in the white shadows ready to bounce.
Very unnerving to walk through a corridor in which you cannot see a thing and a certain ceiling screen effect looked rather incredible when going through but with only two actors inside it was just walking through a shipping container with a strobe light.
The ideas are there with a lot of these experiences but the execution just needs a little tweaking.
One finale that didn’t need tweaking was Decontamination as this Squid Game inspired experience absolutely hit home in every department.
Soldiers led you into designated bays and you waited for the green light behind a curtain.
Green light meant go, red light meant stop but when you opened the curtain a whole army of zombies were in front of you in a very intimidating fashion.
Run on green, stop on go and whilst you stop the creatures breathe down your neck and get as close as they possibly can in a very intimate manner.
I loved the execution on this one.
Last year in a video I mentioned having a scene where the actors would all charge at you in a hoarde fashion would be a great experience, it’s nice to see someone else on the same wavelength as me when executing this idea and it absolutely paid off.
A great finale!
Carni Valley, Infirmary and Decontamination all did the jobs they were meant to do. The perfect segway, best indoor walkthrough and immersive finale but the others certainly need a little tweak.
The tweaks aren’t major and lack of actors is definitely one of their major downfalls in the other respective experiences but the atmosphere, the walkthrough experience and the scale of this event is very impressive.
Priced at £25 per person we were in there for 2 hours so I’d say for what you get, that’s a reaonsable price to pay.
The food and drink is a little pricey but that’s to be expected from a place like this.
A mid-tier scare level which would be best suited to newcomers to scare events will put you at ease for other stronger and more ramped up events in the UK but Scare City is brand new, this is their second year of doing this event and it’s already much improved.
The scare level is a bare minimum if you’ve been to these events before but if you’re a newcomer you’ll certainly get a little more than you bargained for. Hats off to Scare City for taking onboard feedback and improving in their second year run-through of this event.
Here’s to what they have in store for us next year!
Scare City Experience Review by Sean Evans
If you’d like to check out the VLOG from the press night event then click that play button below!