WICKED FOREST OF TERROR
The Wicked Forest of Terror has been open for approximately 3 years. The trail itself is approximately 7 acres of wooded area with a few inclines and declines to navigate. I have been coming here since they have been open and see them progress every year. This year was no exception to that trend.
This haunt sits off far south of busy highway but provides enough seclusion to make you feel isolated. There is not much of a midway to speak of. They do have a ticketing booth and an area with bathrooms that is constantly trolled by actors engaging patrons. This year they did offer a casket experience where you pay a small fee and see if you can last for five minutes laying inside the closed casket. This particular attraction is part of the pseudo midway and is located in very close proximity to the ticketing booth and is managed by an actor who is dressed to impersonate an undertaker of sorts. The fact that this attraction is visible from the ticketing booth makes it fun to watch people make last minute decisions as to if they want to attempt it. The casket experience does offer some surprise features that make it more real. From the midway you can see the strobe lights and dimly lit areas from the trail as well as hear the loud bangs and screams from patrons on the trail. The night I went there was no food truck. However, they are located in close enough proximity to a variety of fast food and restaurant options. You simply purchase your tickets, walk over to the designated area to sign your electronic waiver, and then proceed deeper into the wooded area where the line for the actual haunt starts. The line zig-zags through the wooded forest and is either roped or taped off to keep order. You have the option for a speed pass or a wicked pass that allows you special privileges behind the scenes to see how some of the haunt is set up. The night I went I opted for general admission but would definitely recommend the speed pass as the lines can get very long. Once you make it through the line you are then advanced deeper into the forest for a rules briefing done by their signature wicked mascot tree, Karl. Karl then gives you the briefing at which point you proceed into the haunt.
From the very beginning of this haunted trail you are greeted with a significant amount of strobe lights and sirens which set the tone for chaos. There is also a moderate amount of fog used throughout the haunt. With that being said, I didn't notice any visible fog machines or electrical cords through the haunt. There are not a lot of animatronics used through the haunt but rather stand alone props, lighting, and actors. There are a few areas and scenes that are very psychedelic in nature. The use of very creative lighting made these scenes very pleasing to the eye. It is to be noted that the actor's makeup and costume designs were, for the most part, top notch and seemed to fit each individual scene very well. This created great differentiation in the scenes and made them all uniquely stand out from one another. The props and décor in each area seemed to be molded to the theme of each individual scene. Speaking specifically about the scene setups, they were all done well but a few of them really stood out in the sense that you felt visually and audibly immersed as well as captive in the action.
The actors here have always been very intensive and believable. This year was no exception. They do an exceptional job of engaging the whole group as you make your way through the scenes. One thing worthy of mention is that the actors are definitely in tune with one another and play off each other very well. In very few scenes did the actors rely on the simple and quick scare tactics with use use of
banging on barrels and sudden loud noises. In all the other scenes the actors used more of a psychological warfare approach as they invade your personal space. Some of them would try to learn your names and pass it along the trail to get inside your head a bit more. They did this all while remaining in character as long as it was believable that their character would have a speaking part. In a few spots the actors' timing could improve but overall the timing of scares was good. Being that the scenes at this haunt didn't follow a detectable cohesive theme, some actors were very high energy, erratic, and unpredictable. Others played roles that required them to assume a more ominous and commanding presence. On either end of the spectrum the performances were done with enthusiasm. The actors also used the shaded areas and lighting very well. Building on that, there were numerous times where I found myself face to face with an actor before I even realized they were there. The wooded trail and numerous props afford them the luxury of remaining, to a large extent, undetectable. Two of the scenes added this year were definitely stand out scenes as the actors in those scenes were undeniably believable extremely intense. The one thing that was lacking on occasion throughout the trail was the handful of actors who did not pursue patrons if they didn't get the scare or scream on the first attempt. Follow through and persistence could have greatly payed off in this case.
Walk through Experience
I timed this haunt at approximately 23 minutes. Given that the general admission is $25 I feel that is a good value and overall worth the price of admission. The trail itself features many turns and corners while mixing in inclines and declines in the ground level. The scenes didn't really have one main theme and therefore weren't cohesive in nature. However, the array of themes throughout the trail was diverse enough and gave you a taste of many different ideas. The flow of the scenes can be compared to smelling cologne or perfume at a store with the sharp corners and turns of the trail acting as the smell of coffee beans to refresh your palate in order not to mix smells. In short, each scene was new and discernibly different from the previous scene. I traveled with a group of three people that night and did not feel like the pace was rushed nor did we have a “bottleneck” effect where we either caught up or met up with other groups on the trail. A few times along the trail I was caught off guard and jolted by actors who allowed some of the elaborate props and lighting to be the distraction. The two other patrons that went with me were caught off guard more often and were hesitant to enter into a few of the enclosed scenes due to either the ominous use of lighting or eerie vibe from the actors we encountered as we walked up to the scene. I did notice a small stretch of dead space in the of the trail itself which spanned approximately 40ft in length. Additional actors in this area to keep up the engagement and intensity was lacking. The last part of the trail consists of a complicated maze where you are heavily engaged by at least 20+ actors for as long as it takes you to navigate the maze. The use of strobes and fog in this maze make it more difficult to navigate but the ambiguity in the path you choose coupled with the actors you encounter make it a frustrating but enjoyable experience. In summary, there were a few typical scares and quite a few atypical scares throughout. The actors were intense and did a great job of engaging us throughout the trail with the exception of a handful that would not pursue us beyond the initial attempted scare. There were lots of elaborate costumes and top tier makeup designs to be seen throughout the trail. The small stretch of dead space at the end was minimal but undeniably present. The maze at the end was enjoyable but you should not trust the actors for directions.
Creativity and Originality
This haunt offers a diverse mix of different scenes and plays on phobias that is sure to appeal to nearly anyone. A few of the scenes and setups have commonalities with what would be considered typical scare tactics and imagery. However, you will find other scenes and characters in this haunted trail that are very original, anxiety provoking, and unique in nature. The maze at the end of the haunt is unique in the sense that the general theme of haunt is that you follow a guided path. However, the maze puts
the rest of our experience in your hands and affords you some fun with personal choice.
Reviewer's Personal Notes
I enjoyed this haunt and the diversity it offers. With that being said, I do wish there was more of a midway with entertainment and more engaging activities. I do not feel like this takes away from the haunt but I am confident that it would boost the overall feel and excitement of the attraction as a whole. I think that filling the dead space in the haunt coupled with more actor training in terms of pursuit and tenacity will go a long way! Keep up the great work!
-RED TIE GUY-
Experiencing Wicked Forest of Terror for the first time ever, I honestly didn't know what to expect other than it being a full outdoors trail. I enjoyed the themes to each scene, especially the doors, church, graveyard, the voodoo scene, the fluorescent spider webs and tree branches and the clown maze at the end. W.F.O.T offered quite a few unique scenes that I haven't seen at any other haunt. I felt most of the actors did a great job with their scenes and working the entire group and utilizing their area. There were a few that could improve in that department, such as timing and working the entire scene. A few popped out a little early and then gave up on the group and disappeared into the darkness only to not be seen again. Also 1 or 2 cliche "get outs" were heard. Other than that, I felt the majority did a great job! I really appreciated the energy of the actors, that was something that definitely was not lacking. My opinion of the midway Que is respectfully different than Johns, but I really enjoyed the red lit Que. It puts you in the woods with nothing around except the sound of distant screams and the wind blowing through the limbs. It's a breath of fresh air compared to what I've experienced in the last few years when it comes to midways. Most haunts are heading down the path of creating a midway thats like a state fair, it's great and cool. But, sometimes just simply creating a creepy atmosphere is needed. In my humble opinion, W.F.O.T. gives you just that. This haunt also gives you that walking through the woods vibe with the uneven pathway, it's not a clean cut flat path like most have. After having the honor of talking with owners Stephanie and Brad. Their passion for what they do is on point and is everything ALL haunts should strive to be. That's what it's all about!
Wicked Forest Of Terror offers a unique, creepy experience and I hope to get invited back out in the future!