Attraction Review: Them Below

Every Halloween I always try to mix up my event calendar with returning to old favourites and trying new events including everything from huge multi-million pound events to smaller indie pop-up events. So when the team at XScream Events got in touch inviting me down to try out their brand new Halloween horror maze Them Below I went out of my way to squeeze them in to my busy Halloween event schedule!

A brand new attraction from the creative minds behind Thorpe Park Resort's legendary Big Top and Platform 15 mazes, Them Below takes place in the infamous underground tunnels below Croydon. Concerning the lost Draven family, Them Below invites us to take to the sewers and investigate recent eye-witness claims of a human-like creature dragging something to a nearby basement to see if the mystery can finally be solved.

Entering a random, graffiti covered doorway on a bustling Croydon high street and wandering down the concrete steps to god knows what below is somewhat unnerving in itself. As you are all well aware by now, I'm a huge advocate of not overly researching an attraction before you experience it to allow for maximum impact, and given Them Below is a brand new attraction for this year I had zero clue of what to expect. The brand copy is also very clever in that it gives us a premise and something to hang out hat on in terms of narrative but it gives absolutely zero insight into the scares of what lays ahead, which is wonderful! With that said, there are some spoilers ahead so please read no further if you'd rather not know!

Them Below really plays on lulling us into a false sense of security - we're initially joined by an urban explorer/vlogger who starts the journey with us into the tunnels to investigate some strange markings. The use of the light from her camera to pin-point select view points to draw our eye to is very clever here to as it allows for some fantastic misdirection - it felt like being part of our very own found footage film which was really effective and terrifying! While she's with us things feel creepy, yes, but not too bad, but as we delve further into the storyline that comfort is quickly stripped away from us and we're left wandering in the darkness alone.

And when I say dark I mean it's really fucking dark. Like pitch black, can't see your hand in front of your face. The joy of building a horror maze in a basement! This section also delivers perfectly what a lot of bag-on-head mazes can't even get to with your eyes literally covered - complete disorientation. The creatures that stalk us through this section give serious Descent vibes as they grunt and tongue-click to find their way towards us - super eerie and unnerving without haven't to rely on cheap jump scares.

Following this things amp up a bit as the truth of the Dravens and their cannibalistic tendencies that had been previously suspected are all but confirmed and the sense of danger and foreboding is quickly heightened - we switch from a slow, creepy unnerving feel to full blown panic as we're confronted with blood spattered and gory scenes and into an intense Big Top-esque strobe maze (did you think these guys would do a horror maze and NOT include a strobe maze?!)

It's a panicked run past various menacing creatures to this finish from here on out and the ending of this maze was a delightful unexpected double-whammy scare and out into a bar (as all good horror mazes do) so you can grab a drink to calm your nerves and try to process what the heck just went on down there.

Given this attraction is in its first year, it's a fantastic example of the kind of thing that can be done to bring these abandoned city centre locations to life. A team like the Figaro Bros. know scare mazes, them know what key elements are needed to please the crowds and bring on maximum scares throughout - it kind of had it all: pitch blackness, strobe maze, creepy characters, dramatic and intense scares balanced with quiet terrifying moments. It's a smaller attraction yes but it certainly packs a punch and really maximises its space in ensuring no section is underutilised in terms of delivery atmosphere. For anybody heading out on a Halloween night out over the coming weeks it's the perfect stop to get your dose of Halloween fun, especially if you don't have the time to dedicate to a larger full day/evening event.

If you want to check out Them Below for yourself and dicover the truth behind the Draven family, the guys at XScream Events have created code JORDAN15 for you to receive 15% off of your ticket!

You can check out more info about the attraction here and I'd certainly recommend popping down to the Croydon tunnels yourself this Halloween season to take on Them Below.

Talk later xoxo,