|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Easy to find. Right off of North Avenue in Melrose Park. Lighted sign to the entrance.
Wait Entertainment: Lots of wait entertainment with characters at the start of the line as well as walking through the line. There were also actors outside and in the parking lot across the street. Part of the fun was watching other people get startled. There was video playing of prior haunts as well as heavy metal music playing on the souns system. The big concrete "line" room was done in a haunted, cold industrial motif with gore/creature murals on the walls.
Length of Event: approx 20-25 minutes.
Actor Performance: The actors were very ENTHUSIASTIC AND ENERGETIC. Everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy what they were doing, except for the somewhat gruff ticket-taker lady. Needless to say, no amount of props or special effects etc can make up for poor, lackluster scare performances by the actors. In my view the Actors/Actresses made this haunted house event enjoyable and memorable.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: The line moved pretty well both outside and inside the haunted house. We got there at just before 8pm. There was no line to buy a ticket, and the line inside lasted about 15 minutes. By the time we left, the line was outside the entry door by about a half-block. Get there as close to 7 as possible, but being that you are kept entertained during the wait, wait time isnt an issue.
Appropriate Ages: I think kids 13 and up would enjoy this experience.
Props / Special FX: The props and special effects were simple yet effective (with the exception of the rotating light room, which threw us all for a loop!). Most of the effects revolved around loud noises, well-placed lighting and props which were realiztic (the chainsaw guy was really good as was the "elevator to hell" at the beginning of the tour). The one disappointment were the props used in parts of the haunted junkyard scene at the end of the tour. Due to the increased lighting, the limbs used in the oven and in other parts of the scene looked plastic and fake. The characters and acting (as discussed above) made up for this very slight flaw.
Costumes / Make-up: The costumes and makeup were amazing. Noone seemed overdone at all. The clown room was an especially effective combination of make-up and special-effects and overall actor/actress energy. It was my favorite part of the tour.
Summary: This was my first ever haunted house AND I HAD A GREAT TIME! All of my misconceptions about haunted houses (cheesy, expensive ripoff, seedy, rowdy, unsafe etc) were all misguided as far as Dream Reapers is concerned. My family and I enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement (and alot of good humor) of this haunted house. The characters were intense at times but not overly ambitious. The sets were very detailed in their layouts and scenery. The fact that the entertainment starts from the minute you get near the entrance until you leave (In our case one of the parking lot ghouls jumped into the car for a last minute scare on our way out) givesone the feeling of having been thoroughly immersed in the experience.
There was visible security as well as police at the entrace to the attraction as well as discreet security inside. Given the numerous families and younger kids I saw, I would say this was a very safe, secure and fun haunted house to visit.