This past Thursday I got to check out one of the new kids on the block when it comes to Halloween Haunts, Creep Los Angeles. Like Alone, Delusion, and The Purge (before Universal Studios took it over), Creep is an immersive experience where you are part spectator and part player.
You start off as a group going through events together but are soon separated so that each person gets his own story. This Rashomonesque approach is what separates CreepLA apart from other haunts. There’s one narrative that allows for both a communal and singular experience that fosters conversation and wonder. There’s a constant urge to know what’s happening to the other person while simultaneously trying to anticipate what’s going to happen to you. And when you weave back into each other’s path you naturally ask “so what just happened to you?”
You’d expect such complex storytelling to eventually expose an overarching theme to pull everything together, but that wasn’t the case here. Instead, you shift from scene to scene, like in a dream, where you start in one place and end up in another without rhyme or reason. That’s not a critique; it’s just a warning. There is no simple linear trajectory with a beginning, middle, and end. But by not sticking to convention the creators were free to tell a different story…or multiple ones. In fact, several times I felt I was experiencing the haunted past or dark subconscious of several people.
The experience itself is not so much scary as it is dark. It’s more psychological thriller than boogey man chasing you; all coming together through an ensemble of gifted actors dedicated to their performances. Every time I experience one of these I’m amazed at how the productions keep getting bigger and better. It really is more immersive theater than haunt. For me that’s a good thing because, although I love watching something good, I’d prefer be part of something good.
My only warning is that you have to be comfortable in cramped places and in close proximity with others, as this will happen quite often. And just a bit of advice, don’t come in with any preconceived notion of what the experience should be; better, let it unravel and immerse yourself in someone else’s world.
CreepLA runs through October 31st. For tickets and more information head over to: http://www.creepla.com/
CreepLA is rated PG-16 and receives
out of 5 jack-o’-lanterns.