Our commentary for our first official visit to Statesville Haunted
Prison, one of the top rated haunts in the US, and one we’ve avoided doing a review for for several years now. However, we had time and a good Living Social deal, so we decided to do it.
Did it live up to the hype? We’d have to say yes, in a qualified way. It certainly is an assault on the senses, and gives a good impression of being herded through a prison environment through the actors, sights and sounds. Your senses are bombarded with people, lights, horns, strobes, and extremely detailed sets, and it’s non-stop. There is no break at all in the action except when you are lined up in a holding area (which also is structured like it might be in a prison situation) before you move on to the next section.
One thing Statesville is not, at least in our opinion, is terrifyingly intense. It has a reputation for being in your face and over the top, with actors so intense the make people cry, pee their pants, and want desperately to leave. We didn’t experience any of that, though. That’s not to say it wasn’t good – it was. Actors were plentiful and varied and did get up close and personal, although we didn’t see any actors purposely blocking people from passing for extended periods of time, nor did we see any instances of excessive verbal abuse, shouting, or attempting to terrify the more easily scared among the visitors. Such is sometimes the reputation that Stateville has, but we found it more fun and amusingly offbeat than creepy or intense. Again, not a negative at all, just a different experience than what we were expecting.
That said, we did enjoy it quite a bit and would definitely go back, as long as we could avoid the lines. If you can only hit one haunt in a season, you wouldn’t be making a bad choice if you picked Statesville.