Can You Survive The Strangers Experience?
A Stranger at the Door
A loud knock on the door. The patio lights are out. You can’t see who’s there. The door creaks open.
“Is Tamara home?” asks a young woman, her face hidden in the shadows.
“You have the wrong house,” you reply, promptly closing the door.
The young woman leaves. Or does she?
The Strangers, the 2008 horror film, takes a home invasion story and cranks the tension up to eleven. Masked killers torment a couple over a long, strenuous night of scares, only to (SPOILER ALERT) walk away scot-free. Ten years later, The Strangers: Prey at Night brings back the infamous Dollface, Pin-Up Girl and Man in the Mask to frighten – and potentially kill – again, this time in a secluded mobile home park.
I Think We’re Alone Now
To celebrate and promote the March 9th theatrical release of The Strangers: Prey at Night, Aviron Pictures created a pop-up haunted experience in Hollywood. Taking place in a likeness of the mobile home park in the film, guests are welcome to wait for their group’s turn surrounded by upturned garbage cans, neon lights and the remnants of a PBR-sponsored party. While waiting outside (bring a jacket!), guests can also take “last pictures” at a photo booth, complete with fake knives and axes to use as props.
When it was our turn to experience The Strangers, we were directed through a chain-link fence and left to explore on our own. Lit by a stalled truck’s headlights, my small group of five timidly wandered around the set, anxiously awaiting what was to come. A bloody woman suddenly burst out of hiding and corralled us, cowering by the truck and urged to hide. The woman told us we had to find the keys to the truck in order to escape. They were coming…
The sound of an axe scraping the ground alerted us to the Man in the Mask’s arrival. We had to hurry. Running into the mobile home nesting among the dirty lawn chairs and plastic pink flamingos, the woman led us to relative “safety.” The mobile home, itself full of knick-knacks and graffiti, was dark and cluttered, but we had to find the keys quickly. We searched through the mess frantically, jumping at the footsteps on the other side of the door…
No Happy Endings
I don’t want to spoil specifics… The rest of The Strangers experience plays out like a short little horror film that the guests star in. Ambushed by Dollface and Pin-Up Girl, guests are touched menacingly – the otherworldly, masked intruders toying irreverently with their prey – and forced through small, tight spaces into the dark unknown. I think there were moments and ideas throughout that could have been expanded to up the immersion and scare factors, but ultimately I was very impressed with the production value, sets, costumes, props and especially the stunt/scare actors. It was clear that a lot of time went into the preparation of the event, but as soon as I was finally getting into the creepy immersion of the story, we were abruptly spat out into the exit lounge, complete with dingy couches and the film trailer playing on a loop.
Will YOU Survive?
I thought the pop-up experience was really well-done – even when compared to more permanent haunted attractions. However, I definitely wish the main event was longer, especially given the time we had to wait outside in the (relative) cold. The costumes were so well-crafted and the set so engrossing, I wanted more time to take it all in!
If you’re ready to get even more excited for the film and experience a taste of what the murderous Strangers have in store, bring your bravest friends and get ready to fight for survival.
The Strangers Experience runs through March 11th and is now FREE. Reserve a time here.