Attraction Review: FEAR at Avon Valley

So I had been to FEAR back in 2017, but on that visit the traffic was so horrendous that it took us four hours to get there and we arrived at 9PM, just one hour before the event closed, leaving us with very little time to do much else other than run around like mad things trying to cram in as many mazes as possible. I can't say it was my favourite ever visit to a scream park, and ever since FEAR has been an event I've been desperate to get back to, and this year it finally happened, and this time we had plenty of time to enjoy each maze as well as soaking up the atmosphere!

As long-term readers of this blog will know, my memory is particularly crap, but I don't remember having to enter the event via a tunnel through a horrific clown's mouth when I last visited! Nice touch - I was a little confused at first and though it might be the clown maze but no, it was just a very cool and unique way of entering the event - almost like a pre-show I guess. You wander into the clown-mouth gateway, through a disorienting rotating tunnel and are spat out the other side in the centre of the action - a lively bar to the right, groups of teenagers running and screaming to the left and the faint sound of some distant chainsaw punctuating the air. Atmosphere-wise I think you'd be hard-pressed to beat FEAR. Yes, there are groups of kids running around but they're not causing trouble, they're just out for a good time and the crowd is probably one of the more kind-natured I've seen this year in terms of their interactions with roaming characters and actors. 

We kicked off our night with FEAR's infamous fire show and arguably the reason we've seen so many other fire and light shows pop up at other events across the UK. Of the fire shows I've seen so far this year, FEAR's is definitely the best - it's large and in charge, pulling together the themes and storylines of the mazes you'll experience during your night here and the flame effects are BIG. You can basically feel the eyebrows singe from your face, which let's face it is what we want from a Halloween fire show. 

The first maze of the night for us was X4, which was a new maze for the event when I first visited back in 2017. I have to say - it's come on leaps and bounds since I last visited and X4 has ended up being one of my favourite attractions of the 2021 scare season. I think this year has firmly solidified the fact that I adore sci-fi horror maze concepts, and X4 slots nicely into that. It's got this Terminator meets Alien Encounter vibe about it, with a touch of Resident Evil thrown in too. There's something really horrific about grotesque human/robot hybrids that apparently strikes a chord with me, and the initial show scene where one of these creatures escapes and the facility is sent into meltdown is the catalyst that sets us off on our terrifying adventure. 

From here the scares come thick and fast - you've got a very well paced setup with some excellent effects (the lift and escaping creature are both fantastic show pieces that set the scene and build anticipation perfectly). The subsequent frantic attempt to escape the facility through pitch black, fog-filled corridors is a heart-stopping ride and the finale scene where we finally come face to face again with the escaped creature is like something out of a horrific video game. It's terrifying, original, thrilling with a strong narrative that carries throughout. 

The first new-for-me maze of the event, Vita Nova is a dystopian clinical facility set on processing your memories to wipe your slate clean so we can thrive together as a nation rid of what I'm guessing is a horrific past? Long live the Republic of England - it's all very bleak and depressing in a very British sci-fi 28 Days Later/1984 sort of a way and once again demonstrates some truly original thinking in terms of the base concept for the maze. The idea that we must all be happy and sadness is not allowed is a horrendously morbid idea to process, and it's against that initial backdrop that Vita Nova builds its scares upon. 

If you're someone who prefers safety in numbers when experiencing horror mazes, Vita Nova might not be for you. From the offset we're taken into the facility one by one, and immediately placed in isolation boxes, before being pulled out the other side and made to continue onwards, disoriented and alone. Visually the maze is very 00s futuristic - all white balls, mirrors and the ever watching eye of Big Brother. Vita Nova is full of sensory scares - blinding lights, pitch darkness, uncomfortable claustrophobic spaces. It's all there to disorient and confuse you and leave you feeling desperate to escape as it's just such an unpleasant environment to be in. Truly horrific. 

It wouldn't be a 2021 horror event review without a clown maze would it? Ever the fan-favourite, House of Clowns is FEAR's coulrophobia capitalisation offering and it's exactly what you want from this sort of this. It's extremely high-energy, with a fast-tempo manic pop circus soundtrack to see us through the twisted world of the clown-y creatures within. We twist and turn through disorienting circus flaps, soft play fun house netting and incredibly detailed black-lit wall paintings all whilst being hounded by the clowns themselves. 

The actors in this mazes were ridiculously high energy - climbing up walls, jumping down on us from seemingly nowhere and sprinting at us from every angle to keep the pace high throughout. It was a little on the short side compared to some of the other mazes at FEAR, but if you're majorly scared of clowns I imagine that's no bad thing. 

Anarchy: Live was back for this year and I remember when we visited back in 2017 I loved the concept of this attraction but didn't think much to the set itself. Sadly this still remains the case. I ADORE the idea behind this maze - essentially you're an unwilling contestant in a gameshow where participants must fight to the death whilst the whole thing is televised (live streamed?) There's a very Mad Max vibe about it that I hadn't noticed previously, which added a little more flavour for me this time around. The actors in this maze, similarly to House of Clowns, were very high energy and really using the set to their full advantage - there's something especially horrific about actors coming at you from above or below and Anarchy: Live is packed full of that. 

This is a true maze in itself too - you can actually get very lost and we saw multiple groups of terrified teenagers desperately looking for a way out which was so funny to see. I am very conflicted with how I feel about Anarchy:Live as I'm not sure what I would do to improve it but also I can't say I want it to go anywhere as I adore the concept so much? 

Our final maze of the evening and the new-for-2021 attraction at FEAR this year is Malifica. Recent restoration works have uncovered the legend of a scorned nun who burned down her church with her entire convent locked within. Whereas I can't get on board with the general publics love of a creepy clown, I absolutely can relate to the current trend of spooky nuns and this is one of the many reasons I'm a little bit obsessed with Malifica. 

Like the likes of Vita Nova and X4, Malifica doesn't just fling open it's doors and have a bunch of actors go 'boo' at you - it takes time to set the scene, give you some exposition and context for what you're doing so as to frames the scares in a more effective and impactful way. We begin our journey in something of an archaeological/historical dig sit where we discover the legend that has been unearthed. It's creepy, damp, atmospheric and the perfect mood-setter for the horrors we're about to dive into. The set dressing in this maze is fantastic too - the pre-show scene is stunning in its detail and there are some real stand out horrific set-pieces (I keep getting flashbacks to that crucified site-worker, hideous!)

The maze expertly builds the pacing as we wander from room to room, anticipation slowly building to what we know is inevitably coming and we finale enter the burning church finale and it's absolutely fantastic - demonic sounding church music plays alongside the crackling of the flames, smells of burning wood and evil nuns cackling and grabbing for us from every angle as we 'burn' with them. It's a theme I'd like to see more of at UK events and Malifica is certainly the way to do it!


It was so sooo good to finally get to experience FEAR at Avon Valley properly for the first time. If you're a big fan of immersive theatre and like your horror mazes to have a little more backstory and narrative to them you will love this event. The park is home to some of the most unique and interesting horror maze concepts in the UK and Vita Nova and Malifica are excellent additions to the line-up since my last visit in 2017, solidifying FEAR as one of the must-visit horror events in the UK for me. 

Have you visited FEAR at Avon Valley before? What is your favourite attraction at the event? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,