Written by: The Bat
Fright Ride is advertised as “Las Vegas’ largest immersive socially-distanced haunted attraction.” It may have had lots of space to scare in, but the cheap thrills and pop scares that made up their “Fear Experiment” themed haunt had a lot to be desired.
The intro set seemed well decorated, with medical offices labeled with relevant amusing purposes, and amusing scenes in the windows. However, once we boarded the golf cart like machine meant to convey us through the “Fear Experiment,” the journey resembled a trip through a large Halloween decoration warehouse. The props themselves were large and impressive, but they were displayed in a somewhat half-hearted fashion in a space too large and well lit for them to be frightening.
The Dragon’s 2 Cents
I understand the distance aspect as a safety concern, however sitting with a driver right in front of me and then seeing so much room and so little actual scaring going on was well… it felt like a bait and switch, the one reason they had to justify distance and open space for things got thrown out as the driver was closer than 6 feet. On top of that the bright lights, open space, and very few actors… well the ride wasn’t frightening.
Trying to be positive the masks looked really good… I can’t decide if that’s a good compliment or an unintended backhanded compliment… I keep wondering if the bright lighting was to help show off the masks/sets.
The actors in the introductory area seemed to have been instructed to act distracted and uncaring. Most of them did a very good job of it, and I suppose that if I were at a real medical office and the doctors cared that little, it would be scary. However, here it just seemed to lend to the thrown together aspect of the experience. During the haunt, most of the actors seemed only trained to do pop scares or silent scares; I can’t speak to their acting ability as much as to their talent in working with a moving cart and not touching the patrons. I can only speak to the minimal use of any skills they did have by the haunt in general.
The Dragon’s 2 Cents
The actors in general amused me… I’ve only been on business end of haunting/scaring for 1 Halloween season so I’m definitely no expert and I’m a rather hard scare to get on top of that but I don’t think amusing me is the overall goal. I think Bat is right in that the intro actors seemed like they were supposed to not care about the study/people. As such I’m not talking about the actors in the beginning but rather the actors there to scare… I don’t know if it was them or their instructions in relation to the acting but they spent so much time having staring contests with me because I’d spot them early on and I was examining their masks and they’d get really close to me (great for seeing the details btw! so thanks there) and completely ignoring Bat and giving themselves away to her as a result. It seemed like they couldn’t get over the notion I wasn’t an easy scare and they would try too hard on me… While it amused me it left me wondering was it the actor, how they were instructed, the wide open areas, really bright lighting, or what? Likely some combination of all of those but it left me disappointed.
A fear experiment or phobia themed haunt is, in my opinion, one of the easiest themes for a haunt creator to pull together. It allows for the combination of any number of genres of fear into the same haunt. This is not to say it can’t work well, but that is a challenge that I do not think Fright Ride mastered at all. It looks as if they threw a bunch of genres together into sections, some of them copied from movies, one section seeming to come directly from a Universal Studios haunt a few years back, and others taken from their previous attraction, Fright Dome. I guess I give them credit for picking a theme to encompass all their genres.
The actors had the timing to accomplish a few startles, but that is all. None of this ride invoked even the slightest shiver. Most of the time, the feeling was confusion. For example, why did we go from the zombie apocalypse to a rip off of Purge to a clown area? And why, if having us ride in the carts was meant to keep us safe and socially distanced, did we disembark towards the end only to go through a traditional walking style area, with fog and scarers and all? And why would anyone be scared of Santa Clause, even in haunt makeup with an ax? Nice try, Fright Ride, but we’re not scared of you!