Zombie Apocalypse (4.5 stars)
Do you like to sneak around shooting zombies? What better place to do it than an off-season Laser Tag facility!
Zombie Apocalypse is in Abington, less than an hour’s drive south from Boston. It’s now under new management, and run by Randy Fink and his wife Joan, and vastly improved since my last review, in 2013. It’s right next to Barrett’s Haunted Mansion, so if you attend both that gives you a dual reason to drive there.
Outside in line, you’ll be entertained by “line walkers”, actors who march back and forth scaring people. Once inside, you get trained to use an air gun — something that might have kept visitors occupied while waiting in line — but no pellets are given. So basically it’s the noise of the guns that triggers the actors that they have been shot. Then you get a tour leader, who leads you through a series of basic plywood rooms, looking for zombies.
The zombies rush you from dark corners, and even from above. Then when they hear the bang of the guns, they drop dead. It’s a fundraiser for charity groups, and all the actors are volunteers. Being a zombie is not as taxing an acting job as a conventional Halloween attraction, where the actors might have lines to say or even scenes to play out. The zombies are brain dead and amateurs do a great job of behaving like that. They also had remarkable enthusiasm. Several appeared more than once, in separate rooms, clearly enjoying what they were doing.
The event is 20 minutes’ long, which is long enough, and they offer two experiences. Omega 8 is slightly longer but more normal, and Station Z has glow-in-the-dark paint. Although we found a few sets, including a church and some bridges, largely the space was undecorated, which made it a bit ordinary. Fortunately, the patter that the guide gives really makes the experience. Your guide explains the story of why you are there, what you want to accomplish, and there is even a little story behind where you are going and what you find. It’s not extraordinarily well supported by the acting and sets, but I’m so used to Halloween attractions having no story at all that I was grateful for the energy and cameraderie that the tour guide provided. He also told us where to sit and how to cover the entire room, back-to-back.
We got to meet the owners, who assured us that next year they plan to improve their sets. Also next year, the zombies will wear infrared sensors and you’ll have to actually shoot them with laser guns, so aim will play a role!
The actors do a good job of falling and dying. Unfortunately, because of low light and how they rush at you so quickly, you won’t be able to see their costumes and makeup. A bit more distance between you and the zombies, or a bit more time in their coming at you, pretending not to get hit the first time, would allow you to feel their ominous approach more, and allow you to admire more the way they do it. Also, every person would get a chance to raise their gun against every attacker.
And the start and end, you’ll find a gift shop and cafe that sells pizza and soda. It’s a well lit social spot where you can rest for a bit, wait for your friends, and socialize.
I’ve personally visited 5 zombie shoot Halloween attractions in New England and Zombie Apocalypse has the potential to be the best of them all. Its being so close to Barrett’s Haunted Mansion means you have a double reason to make the drive down from Boston. I’m glad to give Zombie Apocalypse a 4.5 stars and expect it to be a nearly perfect 5-star experience next year.