Yesterday we were invited to visit The National Forest Adventure Farm, home to Screamfest Burton.
Before I start, I’ll give you a warning that this review contains slight spoilers, we have tried to avoid them where we can but sometimes to get our point across we have needed to mention some things that happen within one or two of the mazes.
Now, with that out the way! We arrived at the car park, walked over to the entrance and got in the queue! How exciting! We stood there chatting for a while and all of a sudden saw something rather large walking towards us in the distance, a large clown… thing.
This was a nice way to build up the tension as it got us more to talk about the event rather than standard queue line nonsense!
We were let in and given our invited guest treats (two bee… drinks tokens!) We wandered into the event and was met by the large clown… thing… we saw previously but allowed you to take much better photos and of course the odd selfie here and there.
We grabbed our drinks and food from the invited guest buffet (in the invited guest area no less!) and decided it's probably time to do one of the mazes after checking out some of the routine coming from the double act of the world famous Thackeray Bros.
Screamfest Burton features five terrifying scare mazes:
Love Hurts – Love will tear you apart! (New for 2016)
We were a little apprehensive when visiting this maze for the first time as we were met by one of the hosts saying that the attraction was having technical difficulties, however when we got to the attraction later in the evening we could see why!
The attraction was a step up from the other mazes in my opinion, Designed by Andrew Porter, who also designed quite a lot of Screamfest, there was a lot of technology involved within this attraction and lots of well sequenced scares! However we found that being at the back made us miss some of them (mainly the jump scare in the “green room”)
The theming was of an extremely high quality especially the first room in the pub’s toilets (P.S To the pub owners, you need to hire more cleaners!)
The only thing we could fault was the finale, as the final scare was too obvious, the curtain was pulled back and the final scare appeared, stood there for a bit and then went to work with the scare, it kind of ruined the element of surprise for us.
Night Bringer – Join the experiment to find the answer to the ultimate question, is there life after death.
This has had some improvements from last year, in one way for the better and another not so much.
There's no real way of putting it, I didn't think that highly of the maze last year, the story was a little weak as the main story is told through using TV screens and last year in a big group there were some people talking and nattering.
However this year before you enter the maze you are greeted by one of the research facilities staff who tells you why you are there and what they are doing there.
We entered the maze and are glad that some of the dark sections now contain actors as on our run last year there was nothing just… darkness. However quite a lot of the scares were pretty predictable in places and could see the actors moving into position.
We still think this is a very technically impressive maze and love that it has a very heavily embedded story now as it relies less on the screens.
Freakout - Roll up... Roll up... The circus is back in town. See our clowns, they don’t bite… Much!
This is one of our favourites, a good old clown maze! We don’t really like these because of the fear factor, we enjoy these more as they are a very light hearted scare maze, lots of jokes throughout and very fun indeed! (Don’t honk the hooter!)
We love the multiple “choices” throughout the maze but feel that more can be done with them, it’s a fun concept initially as you will soon realise but once you know the trick behind the choices you know what the expect the next few times it happens, we would love one of them to genuinely be an alternative route just to mess with people but are aware of the restricted space within the attraction!
Children of the Corn – A hellish journey through a maize maze in to the nightmare of a terrifying childhood.
Ahh… A classic maize maze, If you have one, you might as well turn it into a scare maize (Get it?) However, I always feel a bit confused by this attraction, the story just seems to be a bit all over the place. You jump from theming set to theming set, there is no explanation why this is all in a maize maze.
The maze seemed to take a new route this year and seems to become more prone to multiple routes (although you were always on a linear path) some played on that by having elaborate theming elements that you instantly walked towards to only have someone jump out from it and tell you to turn around and send you on the right path.
However some just had staff standing in Screamfest uniform saying to carry on in X direction, which killed the mood a bit for me unfortunately. One of them even straight out said “It’s alright guys I’m not scary!” It just took me out of the story that little bit more. I understand there reason for being there but I would love them to be in character of some form.
This year they have got rid of the school theme and turned it into a more cultist theme. There are still children hiding around the place and people dressed in school uniform and there are lots of great theming throughout this maze! Despite all my above gripes it is a very fun maze with some great scares and always come out with panic and then laughter on our face.
Soul Seekers – Join the Soul Seekers TV crew to investigate blood curdling happenings at the abandoned Grand Hotel.
Soul Seekers is a maze with an extremely impressive entrance and a very well performed maze, there are some fun techniques used to give you the feeling of being trapped within the hotel and is always one we love to go into. The acting was brilliant and the theming was excellent as always.
The event has a lot more than just scare mazes, there is a lot of entertainment on offer from those who fancy a break from the mazes, The most obvious attraction upon entering is Hillbilly Joe’s zombie paintball shootout, a fun shooting gallery with real life zombies marching towards you. Take on the zombies before they invade the farm!
There is also a street theatre featuring stilt walkers and fire breathers and Fakir performers and contortionists as well as a live DJ.
In conclusion, Screamfest seems to be getting better every year, with Andrew Porter behind the Scare mazes trying to innovate and create new and exciting scare mazes that try to push the technical boundary. It was a very enjoyable night and we thank all the staff for making us all feel welcome and thanks to Burton Screamfest for inviting us along to see what they were bringing to the table this year. I think it’s going to be a good year for them!