Delusion is one of the trendsetters of haunted attractions to combine theatrical performances with movie-quality set designs and dramatic storytelling. During the course of it’s run over the past 2 years Delusion has created new ways to reinvent the traditional haunted house experience. In their haunts guests don’t just walk through pre-deterimined pathways with plywood walls and monsters hiding around the corner. Instead legitimately creepy locations are rigged with the latest Hollywood FX and stunts to create immersive environments for their stories of terror.
Now in its third year, Delusion has relocated from its residence inside a historic turn-of-the-century mansion in the West Adams district of L.A. to the even larger Bethany Presbyterian Church in Silverlake. Upon arrival, this new ominous setting does betray an aura of foreboding. Guests are checked in and then quickly whisked inside for a brief pre-show that features a cryptic audio recording foretelling the evils that lies ahead. Then a cloaked figure guides everyone to a small courtyard in the middle of the grounds where you’re asked to wait for the main show inside of a lounge area stocked with plenty of drinks and treats to buy.
The lounge is decorated with pictures, artifacts and notes that provide clues to the frights that lay ahead. We had fun exploring this area and the meticulously placed props heightened our curiosity of what was to come. However, one problem with this area is that those who are waiting to go in end up mingling with those who have just finished their experience and here we encountered loud talkers inadvertently giving away spoilers to those of us who haven’t gone inside yet.
While we can’t give away all the details, this year’s play takes us back in time to 1930, where there has been an outbreak of the plague. Mysterious figures calling themselves The Doctors have promised a remedy not only to the plague, but of a greater life, free of the oppression of God and human limitations. During the course of this haunted play we encountered different characters some of whom (mis)guided us, and others who wanted to harm us as we try to stop the cult and return to safety.
Most of the performers are effective in portraying their roles and sustain the suspense throughout the adventure. Yet there were a couple scenes where the actors seemed to get a little carried away with their dramatics, resulting in a few chuckles along the way. The larger location for this year’s haunt show allows for a larger variety of scenes which includes medical offices, small closets, children’s bedrooms and hidden passageways to carnage filled kitchens. Of course there’s also a scene utilizing the church’s large sanctuary. We were very impressed with how well the scenes flowed as we had to travel up and down to different floors of the church. The staging and choreography of this production is well thought out an they successfully manage to keep your group from ever encountering any others, which occurred at the previous location. It’s very impressive knowing that they successfully put it all together in less than a month and with only 6 full rehearsals.
With the larger location there were a few elements that we missed from the previous versions of the show. The stunts used at the former mansion seemed to be much more dramatic and really contributed to some of the biggest scares such as the woman who was pulled up the stairs and down a hallway to her doom. This year it seems the stunts are used more sparingly and a heavier burden to deliver the scares is placed on the actors. There is much more group interactivity required with a higher level of physical participation required by guests. You will have to run, crawl, hide, and maybe even dress up in order survive the wrath of the plaque doctors.
For us the finale of the play is somewhat of a let down and failed to deliver the large scares and level of theatrics we had expected. Especially coming after some more intense scenes. Nonetheless, the production is first rate and sustains an incredibly suspenseful atmosphere with uncertainty on how or when it’s all going to end until you see the doors open back to the lounge.
Delusion is still one of the must see haunted attractions in Los Angeles. We do honestly feel that the price point has become rather (too) steep especially when you can go to a large scale theme park haunt for the same or nearly half the price and get a full nights of entertainment. With that said Delusion, is not a theme park haunt and even thought it isn’t the cheapest haunt experience it’s one you’ll still be talking about until the next time it comes around and for that you shouldn’t feel as bad about paying so much… at least we didn’t. Plus down the street in Silverlake there’s a great selection of restaurants and bars making it the perfection detestation for a haunted ‘date night’ or ‘night on the town’ with friends.
- Haunt Design: 5 skulls
- Theming: 5 skulls
- Scare Factor: 2.5 skulls
- Fright Value: 3 skulls