Delusion: Lies Within
(Click here for my review of last year's Delusion)
Guests are incorporated as characters in a horror play and guided through a creepy old building (this year an old mansion), observing and participating in scenes to progress the plot. This year, we are obsessed fans of an author whose dark fantasy series appears to have been abandoned unfinished. No one has seen or heard from her for years. We venture into her manor to learn what’s wrong and find her literary nightmares impinging on the physical world.
The pacing isn’t quite as tight as it has been in previous years, with a few extended moments in which the group waits for one member to accomplish something nearly out of view, but details like that often improve after opening weekend. Architectural challenges again limit the stunts, this time with low ceilings. And as usual, through no fault of the production, there are attendees who will insist on rejecting the spirit of the event and making fun of it at every opportunity. The fact that the atmosphere of the play can overwhelm their influence most of the time is a testament to its quality.
It’s Delusion. Enough said yet? The sets, cast, and effects are amazing as always, and the story is better than ever. I’d like to think I’d think so even if I weren’t such a book person. The house is perfectly haunted by our mysterious novelist’s fantastical madness, and the logical flow of the plot allows the ending twist to work as it would in a movie.
The beauty of Delusion is always in the interactive immersion in a fully developed world, making for a much more intense psychological experience than the disjointed jumpscares of traditional haunted houses, but when the monsters do come out, when they’re least expected and built up by the context of the story and some truly awesome makeup and costuming, they’re bloodcurdling scream-worthy.
The guests are briefly split up several times per tradition, and the show always continues in character for everyone involved, with some terrifying separate moments (I had friends on both sides of most splits to swap stories with), so I hope to see even more of this incredible show next time around. Oh yes, if the run is extended as it has been in years past, we will be returning. There's a reason this is what we look forward to all year.