Attraction Review - FEAR at Avon Valley

Next up on the line-up of new-for-me Halloween events for 2017 is FEAR at Avon Valley! I've been gagging to get to this event for years and with the amazing social media campaign behind The Fourth I literally couldn't wait to experience it for myself and uncover the secrets of the park's newest maze. So yh, anticipation was high.

But before we delve in, let me tell you a little story. I call it 'listen to your SatNav'. So yh, basically we set off from Thorpe at 4PM and the journey should have taken about 2 hours. An hour into the journey and we noticed that the time left on our journey hadn't actually gone down at all. We did some investigating and it turned out there'd been a huge crash on the M4 - should've pulled off when we could but decided to see it out and ended up sat there for hours.

In the end we rocked up at the entrance at 9PM, just 1 hour to get everything done and so late that the infamous flaming sign had burned out lol (so FEAR have kindly provided me with some of their own to use instead - cheers guys!) Far from ideal, but we pushed on regardless!

When we finally sorted our tickets and entered the park we were met with a towering stage of flames and a disturbingly heavy drum and bass soundtrack pounding out around the park. It was clear from the offset that we were in for a more hardcore style of scare from FEAR tonight!

Time was of the essence so it was time to drum out the mazes as quickly as possible.

Straight in with Purgatory and honestly, I was a little nervous. The last prison breakout themed maze I'd done had been AshHell Penitentiary and well, that was the most terrifying maze I've ever done in my life so I guess you could say I had a little PTSD left over from that one. And luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) it ended up being just the two of us going through the attraction, meaning there was pretty much nowhere to hide when shit started going down.

So this was my first taste of the FEAR style or scaring - and my god is it intense. Pretty much from the offset we were absolutely hounded by actors. Even when it was two of us and one of them we felt outnumbered and the wider spaced corridors taken in such a small group left us feeling extra exposed and vulnerable. The maze kicks off with an awesome behind-the-window style scare that REALLY got me, then the rest is just a combo of terror at not knowing which maniac is about to come around the corner next and heightened panic all around.

The maze makes excellent use of all spaces from forcing you to crawl on all fours through a tunnel (why is this so bloody terrifying?) to wandering through the outdoor prison yard and coming face to face with a real life gun shooting blanks (yep). It's absolutely relentless and we left our first maze feeling utterly pumped!

Call me basic, but I love me some hospital themed horror mazes. I genuinely have a legit fear of hospitals in real life, so shove it in a spooky setting and you've got me terrified. As for Phobia, the seasoned scare lovers among us would probably say this was inspired by The Sanctuary at Alton Towers a few years back - essentially, this is a clinic whose aim is to help cure you of your phobias. How you ask? By throwing you head first into a nightmare fuelled romp with all of them at once.

So yh, as you can imagine it is extremely intense. I kind of love these horror mash-up style mazes where you get a little bit of everything - deranged dentists demanding your teeth to possessed demonic children to pitch black rooms where you wonder if you'll ever see the light of day again. And the Phobia clinic is such a clever way to tie them all together under one legitimate feeling narrative. I was petrified and mesmerised all at the same time and it was wonderful.

If there's anything I love from a horror maze, it's one that thinks outside the box. For me, if the premise is good then you have me intrigued and I always love doing attractions that think outside the box a bit thematically as you never really know what you're going to get, and therefore you get that extra layer of the unknown and fear. 

Anarchy Live has that: you're essentially the bait going onto a live TV set where the premise is that you're hunted by the contestants. Awesome, giving me some Running Man/Hunger Games vibes, love it! And I've said it before and I'll say it again, whilst it's amazing at some attractions with higher budgets to take a step back and admire the set design and detail, it's fantastic how much adrenaline can be drawn out of a person with just some fog, a strobe light and some totally on it actors. Anarchy:Live isn't much to look at set wise but what it lacks in structure and set it more than makes up for on performance and premise!

And finally, the reason for our visit. The Fourth. Time to find out what the bloody hell was going on behind the inspiration for that oh so tantalisingly frustrating social media campaign! And the conundrum continued even once we were at the doors of the maze - nothing outside of this attraction gives away what's about to happen inside and it was fab to note all the guests taking part in not revealing what lay within. 

Remember how I said FEAR think outside the box? Well The Fourth takes this to a whole new level. Obviously I'm not going to go ahead and ruin the build-up of the campaign by blurting out what happens right here, but it was just SO fab and a theme that I wish more attractions would try for. You've got inspiration from all over the shop: a certain terrifying Disney ride, some Forbidden Valley vibes, 1980s sci-fi, claustrophobia, and a dash of kitsch to tie it all together nicely. Just so, so much fun!

And again, the use of space is interesting and keeps you hooked - I had actors crawling above me, swinging at me from around the corner on a rope ladder and even descending down upon me from the ceiling. Thematically and narratively FEAR have really gone out of their way to bring The Fourth to life in the most imaginative and deeply horrifying way possible. The queue for this one was way out of the door and after experiencing it for ourselves it was easy to see why.

And so we did it - we managed by the skin of our teeth to nab all of the attractions at FEAR just before closing time with the use of our queue jump ticket (without it we'd have definitely been screwed considering the popularity of the place!)

So, was the five hour journey and sitting in all that traffic worth it? You're damn right it was! I always say every year I like to try new-for-me attractions and I'm so happy I finally got to experience FEAR, if just for Phobia and The Fourth alone. It's a fantastic attraction and if you like your horror mazes on the more intense side then I'd definitely check this out.

Talk later xoxo,

*thank you to FEAR for letting me use some of their pics because we arrived to late to grab many of our own lol