|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Good|
Visibility/Location: A little tricky if you don't have a GPS, as there are a lot of one-way streets around the area (it's next to a brightly-lit casino down by the river). Nothing made it stand out other than a dimly-lit sign that said 'Nightmares'.
Wait Entertainment: There were a few costumed characters roaming in the queue, as well as horror movies playing on two TV sets. Some of the actors were giving away T-shirts to guests who were dared to do things (eat a worm, smell a stinky shoe for 30 seconds, etc). Would have been nicer if the waiting area was inside, considering we waited for an hour out in the freezing cold. I'm surprised they didn't sell any snacks or refreshments.
Length of Event: 10-15 minutes
Actor Performance: Solid, but nothing to write home about. Most of the actors in the house made low gutteral noises when they jumped out, or were otherwise silent (which worked well). There wasn't a whole lot of 'acting' to speak of, save for the guys outside who did a respectable job.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: EXCELLENT. Before you went it, they asked how many in a group, and never sent in more than 8 people at a time (even if it meant separating larger groups). Being split up into smaller groups is critical to getting scared in any haunted house, and they knew this. Well done.
Appropriate Ages: There was a lot of graphic content (blood, gore, dismembered bodies, etc) - I would say 13+ to be safe.
Props / Special FX: Absolutely amazing. The scene construction made the haunt. Most scenes were of a lower budget, but the few animatronics and 'interactive' props provided some outstanding scares.
Costumes / Make-up: Also great. From what we could see, the characters had very detailed makeup/masks that looked great when they got in-your-face (and they did). Most areas were too dark to tell, though.
Summary: My expectations were set pretty high going into Nightmares, but it's safe to say they definitely exceeded my expectations.
The haunt had many 'rooms' separated by hallways lined with hanging body parts. The theme was of a 'Saw'-type nature, what with the abundance of bloodied torsos. There was a lot of gore, but somehow it never seemed to get old. The scenes were put together in such a way that every member of your group was sure to get a scare, whether they were first, last, or in the middle. It was dark almost the entire way through, but we had a personal 'ghoul-guide' that seemed to lead us through the house (the uncle of a member in our group worked there). There were a few occasions where we were blinded by a strobe light and couldn't see anything, and the tight turns and narrow hallways made it a little tough to find our way around.
Considering the cost ($13), wait time (a solid hour), and location (right next to a flashy casino) Nightmares provided some fantastic scares. I would *HIGHLY* recommend this to friends, family, heck, even complete strangers. They did a tremendous job overall and get my vote for Best Haunt 2009.