Attraction Review: FEAR at Avon Valley Scream Park

Our second haunt of the weekend last week took us to the excellent FEAR Scream Park, located in the South West of the UK just outside of Bristol. This was my third time visiting this event, with two new attractions since I last darkened their doorways back in 2021 so I was very excited to see how things had changed in just a few short years. 

Similarly to Tulley's Shocktoberfest, FEAR has a very 'music festival' vibe in its setup - with the entire park itself dotted with pop up bars, streetfood and bonfires giving the whole place that delicious crisp Octobery smell throughout the whole event. Fitting, as the event are known for their iconic fire show which clearly inspired many a UK scream park after they debuted theirs, and it's something that still draws crowds years on, albeit with updated visuals and music nowadays, courtesy of the legendary Archie Music. 

Something that always stands out to me about FEAR is the atmosphere they create. Their roaming street team of deranged freak show residents torture guests wandering through trying to make their way from maze to maze so the air is punctuated with shrieks followed by maniacal clown laughter. That combined with the bonfire smell, lights and flames in the air and a great soundtrack is an absolute treat and it's hard not to just wander around soaking up the vibe. 

But of course, there are haunts to talk about! As always I'll review these in the order we experienced them and my spooky pumpkin factor is based on how scary I found the attraction overall. 

My first new-for-me attraction at FEAR was The Exorcism. Going in blind promptly at 18.15PM that evening, I knew nothing about this thing other than it wasn't a horror maze and it's been widely praised by scare enthusiasts across the country, so I was very eagerly to discover what awaited within. 

I want to try not to spoil this too much because honestly, sitting in there knowing nothing of what was to come is arguably what made it so very excellent to me. Essentially you're taken off in small groups and sit in a dark attic room accompanied by a priest, a nun and some poor soul strapped to a bed possessed by some sort of demon, and we witness an exorcism play out. And oh my god, it is the most scared I've been in a scare attraction in years. The small cast of just three actors were excellent at playing off of each other and very convincingly delivered the entire unholy scene - I was absolutely captivated by all three of them.

It's the intimacy that makes The Exorcism so terrifying. Small groups in a fairly large, very dark room leaves you feeling extremely exposed, and the way all three of the actors move around the room amongst the set pieces and the shadows combined with the way we're sat in a circle means you really do not know where they're going to come from next. 

There's also a ton of excellent special effects in there that amplify the already terrifying scene playing out before us - again I won't go into detail as I don't want to spoil anything but there were some serious WOW moments that had my jaw on the floor. Given this is the attraction's second season I'm very surprised we haven't seen these pop up elsewhere in the UK as we know how scare attractions love to inpsire one another!

I really can't praise The Exorcism enough. It's got hauntingly beautiful set-design, mind-blowing special effects, brilliant actors and above all, it's absolutely petrifying. Kudos to FEAR for doing something so excellent and for bringing something so original and unique to the UK scare circuit, it really is a jewel. 

A kind of sister (pun intended) attraction to The Exorcism, Malefica sees us enter the belly of the Sisters of Mercy Church which is unfortunately overrun by the tortured souls of the sisters who met their tragic end in the flames. Why are nuns so bloody spooky? I don't know why but they really are. Winding deeper and deeper through the excavation site of the church itself we move through several rooms within the church - a crypt where a nun literally crawled out of a wall in front of me and fell at my feet which was absolutely vile, a congregation of creatures sat waiting in the pews for us to squeeze past and the finale - which again I will not spoil but it's an absolute showstopper. 

The team at FEAR really understand how to create a spectacle in their attractions and the ending of Malefica is a testament to that - again it had us WOWing our way through the screams as we made our way to the exit. 

The next three mazes we did, VITA NOVA, X4 and The Core, live in a slightly separate 'land' within the park known as the Republic of England - an alternate timeline where a dictatorial totalitarian government reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984 have taken over and are enforcing their horrific regime. Again - I'm very surprised we haven't seen other scream parks do this because it's just another way FEAR elevates itself thematically away from other UK scare attractions and goes that extra mile with their storytelling, which I feel really amplifies the impact of the mazes themselves. 

Anyway - VITA NOVA! I think on my Instagram story I said it's like The Smiler meets the current government and I stand by that. It's not post-apocalyptic, but it is sci-fi in the same way that things like Brazil and Clockwork Orange are. Uncanny in that it feels similar to our current timeline but just a tine bit too fantastical to be non-fiction. 

VITA NOVA is very unique in its theme - all bright neon lights, stark white walls and mirrors. It feels very dystopian and futuristic in there, bleak and soulless juxtaposed with the over the top, intense and sickly smiles of the residents within reminding us to take our VITA NOVA so we can live in a state of Euphoria in the Republic of England. It's sadly so disturbing because it really hits home in the current climate, and even more so because you largely experience this attraction alone as you're split up at the start! It's not intense jump scares like Malefica, more a slow burn of an overwhelming sense of dread that creeps up on you throughout. 

When I say FEAR do things differently, no attraction exemplifies this more than The Core. Set within an abandoned sewage plant, this maze is unique in that guests have to don waders as some scenes are submerged in water. Yep, you read that right.

Sadly, I'm one of what I assume is the minority of FEAR guests who have experienced Below at Walibi Holland's Fright Nights which I believe inspired The Core, so wearing waders in a horror maze was not a first for me and so some of the novelty factor was lost there but that is speaking for me personally. I am very glad to see something so different like this available for us to enjoy right here in the UK and I will always appreciate a maze that completely turns the horror attraction formula on its head like The Core does. 

The Core is a beautiful attraction - it feels incredibly real, like we really are submerged in sewers underground. It's really hard to believe that this is all a set created just for us and it's a testament to how the set design at FEAR just gets better and better with every attraction. Storywise this one wasn't my favourite as I did find it hard to follow, but to be honest I may very well have been so distracted by the whole putting on waders and getting in the water thing that I missed half of the exposition. I do feel like the maze just ends without any kind of major finale moment like some of the other haunts at FEAR have, but again I was having so much fun trudging through each scene that I was sad to see the (literal) light at the end of the tunnel.

I remember the X4 marketing campaign so well that this maze has become kind of iconic to me. I loooove me an alien maze, and I don't actually think they're utilised enough at scare events. Please can aliens become to new obligatory clown maze, or do not enough people find aliens as pant-wettingly terrifying as I do? 

Anyway, once again the FEAR team really go out of their way to ensure that what could be a run-of-the-mill straightforward haunt into something way more theatrical. We walk through scenes of scientists testing in labs, we see the alien test subject behind bars as a security breach plays out (I will say here I do miss the original Extra-Terrorestrial inspired scene here...), we board a Sub-Terra style elevator that takes us underground, we're forced to blindly navigate one of those horrendous fog chambers. It's all these little things that work together to ensure X4 is not only memorable in its own right, but that it has it's own distinct flavour from the rest of the attractions at FEAR, even if it also falls under the Republic of England sub-plot of the scream park.

I know I'm like a broken record at this point, but I always feel the need to caveat that clown mazes really don't do it for me, and I know I'm in the minority vs. the general public who love themselves a creepy clown show. House of Clowns is fun - for me the most memorable part is the ridiculously catchy soundtrack and the really gorgeous hand-painted wall graphics. It's a hoot to bounce through after the more intense attractions in the park, so it's one I always try to keep until the end, as a bit of light-hearted dessert after the horrors. 


So yes, another absolute slam dunk of a year for FEAR. It's easy to see why this scream park gets so much praise and it's genuinely exciting to wonder what they're going to do next as they always come with something completely new and out of the box. The variety of the attractions at FEAR is second to none in the UK and if you're looking for more innovative, inventive haunts that do things you haven't seen anywhere else and you haven't already then I implore you to visit FEAR Scream Park. It's like nothing else we have in this country. 

Have you visited Fear Scream Park before? What is your favouroite haunt? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,