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To round off Dreaded Dominions’ Haunt excursions this year we headed down to The Shallow Grave in Winter Haven.

The Shallow Grave came on the scene in 2013 and has been gaining traction with haunt enthusiasts in the Sunshine State. In fact, we’ve heard so many good things about this haunt that, when we had to choose our final haunt, it seemed like a no-brainer.

20151002_192608So we made the 1.5 hour trip in the rain and I’m glad we did. First off, the event is indoors so the weather wasn’t a problem… Well except for crossing traffic in the rain. The parking lot is across a busy highway and the parking is $2.00. But, a police officer showed up not too long after we arrived to usher people across.

Tickets were easy enough. We purchased online so they quickly converted to the above hard tickets and we were instructed to choose one of the houses. We chose the right line which turned out to be ADHD. The houses did not open promptly at 7:30 (8:05). It seemed they were having possible technical problems but they sent out scare actors to entertain the people waiting. When we did start moving, I was relieved to see that they pulse groups of six through the houses.

ADHD: Overdose

ADHD indeed lived up to the name. The house is a Hodgepodge of themes that move from woodsy swamp to 3D clown house and everything in between. It started a little slow with lots of static and animatronic props but it picked up after a few scenes. The scares were genuinely unique in several scenes and they caught me off guard many times. I was really impressed with the sets and level of detail. We did get a little confused and walked out of the house early through an emergency exit. We were quickly redirected back in to finish the remaining couple rooms. Overall, there were lots of good scares and lots of fun even if I was a little confused how we transitioned from set to set.

Haunted Hills: The Rage

If you thought ADHD was good, this house amps it up 3 fold. The theme was cohesive, the sets were amazing, and the scares were on point. I got more scares in this house than I have in 6 years combined at a high-end commercial haunt. I did bang the crap out of my shin on a coffee table of all things but that was nothing, however, compared to the bangs and bruises I got from scared people pushing me into the scenery. Although, running into things wasn’t always someone else’s fault. I ran head on into a very tall and thick scare actor all by myself. He must have been 6’4″ and as immovable as a wall.

Upon existing the last house, we walked around a bit out front and took some pictures, bought a cool copter toy, and headed home. Total time spent was just shy of an hour.

20151002_202305So there it is. I really “dug” The Shallow Grave. It was a good time. For the price ($20.00) and time invested is was well worth it. The costumes are really high quality on most of the scare actors, the sets are near-movie quality, and the scares are aplenty. Heck, I counted a quintuple combo scare in Haunted Hills. I also watched two very hardened looking guys fall apart in front of me and that alone was worth the price of admission. Their ability to grab you only adds to the intensity. Both houses do feel like they rely on animatronic and static props a lot but they use them to their fullest, often using them as distractions for the real scares. The quality of props is really good as well. In fact, it is very often hard to tell the real person from the props. I can honestly say I saw some unique scares that caught me completely off guard. As their site says:  Once you have dared to put your foot into The Shallow Grave you will be begging for more while you are dying to get out.

Check out their website at http://www.theshallowgrave.com.

While you are at it, check out their Facebook page and Twitter page as well.

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