Review: Abington Zombie Apocalypse, Abington, MA (4.5 stars)
Last year, the team from Events INSIDER went on a 10-day Halloween blitz! In October 2013, I visited 28 attractions to bring you reviews and information on everything Halloween in New England. We went indoors and outdoors as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Rhode Island, and as far west as Connecticut. Don’t forget to visit http://EventsINSIDER.com, where we list more creative October events than anyplace else!
The Abington Zombie Apocalypse is a brand new attraction a half mile from Barrett’s Haunted Mansion, and don’t think of them as competitors. It just gives you a reason to travel from further away and do both attractions. Despite a few first-year rough edges, the concept is completely unique and I am certain to give them a 5 star rating next year and in the future. They take interactivity to a whole new level. Instead of walking through a dark maze being yelled at by costumed actors, the event begins when you drive up and are greeted by a guard in military gear with a machine gun, who tells you where to park.
You stand in line as though waiting to be “processed” as surivors of a zombie apocalypse. Once inside the building — a permanent installation but with an interior that lacks high production quality — they put a bag over your head (they wash them, I asked) and you’re taken to “quarantine” to make sure that you’re not going to change into a zombie. While you wait, you hear all around you gun fire, with zombies. I’ve never seen anything like it, a creative way to get around the “no touching” rule and heighten your experience. Then get this, an officer hands you a fake gun and you get to run around shooting zombies, who leap out from every angle.
There were far fewer high schoolers at this event and it’s clearly designed more for adults and those who want the ultimate scare. I’m told that many choose to leave early and some even pee their pants. To me, it was the concept rather than the execution that grabbed me. With a few years’ experience of polishing, this is going to be the attraction to beat in New England, and the experience wasn’t short — it was a full 20 minutes. The lines weren’t that long, but you can pay a VIP price and go to the front if you wish.
About the rough edges I mentioned, the walk through the space was a bit random. Of course you should expect chaos when hunting zombies, but the experience would be better with a plotline, some named characters, and a heightened sense of story, complete with a “boss” at the end like in a videogame. The set design was too basic, and the actors had a big challenge, which was how to rush us headlong and yet stop before touching us so that we could shoot them. I suspect in the future the actors will leap out to startle visitors, but then more slowly advance, or in greater numbers, and not die with the first shot. At one point we had to crawl through a section of drainage pipe and I’d love to see a lot more of that. That being said, I feel heartless giving the experience only a 4.5 stars. You absolutely need to give it a “shot”!
This review was from Events INSIDER’s 2013 10-day Halloween blitz, where we visited 28 attractions across New England. Visit http://EventsINSIDER.com, where you’ll find more fun Halloween and October events than anywhere else!