Event Report: “THE REPOSITORY” VR Experience at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando!Books/Art/Culture,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
As multimedia evolves, traditional outlets of horror entertainment adapt. When horror films come out in 3D, theaters reformat their screens to meet that demand. When horror television push the limits of standards and practices on television, the channels change their personal content standard from that very moment and beyond. And when Virtual Reality begins to change how fright fans experience horror, haunted attractions learn to incorporate VR as the next step in their evolution.
Of course, when you’re competing with extreme haunts and immersive theatrical experiences around the country, most haunted attractions know that if they’re going to launch a full-contact VR experience, they know they have to go big or go home. Luckily, when it comes to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, big is the name of the game, offering up an exciting team experience entitled THE REPOSITORY. Mixing elements of live-action walkthrough, puzzle-busting escape rooms, and mind-melting VR in 4D, horrorheads go neck-deep in a Gothic nightmare unlike anything they’ve encountered before. And should you and your team make it out with your heads intact, consider yourself lucky, as the game’s 40% success rate is one frightfully bandied about by the all-too-eager staff.
Your REPOSITORY experience begins simple enough, complete with a contact waiver and a live visual gallery that gives participants the chance to acquaint themselves with backstory, as well as some clues as to where you’re going next. When the time is right, your group is ushered off into a creepy, museum-like room, in which a spooky host sets the stage for what creepiness is around the corner, as well as setting up a divide in trust between your team and those supposedly in charge. But be warned: those who stand out in a crowd or dare interrupt his macabre monologue might find themselves the subject of your host’s verbal wrath.
Following a pair of interactive horror challenges, include finding a specific key in a room full of keys and witnessing a scientist experimenting on a seemingly undead subject, you make your way into the immersive VR experience. While this writer hopes not to spoil too much of the fun, I do admit that the horror moments certainly work wonders, and don’t necessarily rely too much on the jump scare aspect. In fact, those who are afraid of heights or suffer from claustrophobia might really be in trouble during the experience’s second level, which might be one of the mind-bending VR experiences this writer has ever witnessed. And following the VR experience, your team will be faced with one more challenge, which no single player can bring to the finish line, so you better hope there’s some synchronicity on display.
Overall, THE REPOSITORY is a very fun and effectively creepy alternative to the walkthroughs of Halloween Horror Nights, and one that this writer can only imagine will improve next year as VR takes further leaps and bounds. Scary and challenging without necessarily relying on the gruesome, THE REPOSITORY is perfect for both families and thrill-seekers alike looking for an experience that’s more unique and immersive than jump scares.
You can reserve your spot in THE REPOSITORY at Halloween Horror Nights’ website HERE.