During its prime, Sinister Pointe ranked near the very top of our annual haunt ratings list. With themes ranging from Saw to Silent Hill, and an elaborate haunted house with annual Xmas and Valentine’s Day haunts, this was one of the premier haunted attractions in Southern California. The mazes were superbly designed with movie-quality sets, interactive elements, and suspenseful scares that had us screaming to go back year after year. In addition, the talented team behind Sinister Pointe were also the masterminds behind the creation of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and one of our favorite haunts at the Winchester Mystery House Fright Nights. So after they left their permanent location in 2014, we anxiously anticipated their return in 2016.
Earlier this year, Sinister Pointe had a Seance event that we found to be fun. With a few tweaks, it could have been a pretty epic experience. With that said, it seems that public opinion was that the Seance event was a waste of time and money. Making good on their commitment to customer satisfaction, Sinister Pointe sent out special invitations to all the Seance attendees, welcoming us all back as VIP guests to experience their new 2016 haunted maze.
We couldn’t wait to finally return to Sinister Pointe and see the next level of terror and fun they promoted. The maze is themed as a dark journey through a decrepit world where victims must choose different paths to get through four demonic dimensions. Unfortunately, the description is the most exciting part. The maze we went through (3 times) is mainly constructed from black painted plywood walls and hanging sheets. There were hardly any props and limited effects. There actually was one section of the maze where we got stuck with other guests because we thought that the path through a curtain was taking us out of the maze and behind the scenes. It looked like an emergency exit. However, an actor told us to keep going and called us idiots for not knowing that was the correct path. We’re sorry, but when going through a maze, we’re not used to going behind the walls and walking over light cords, fans, past stacked chairs, and behind the audio speakers. We couldn’t believe it was part of the maze. We all did feel like idiots for taking the time and paying to go through this maze.
We went through three times and didn’t find any of the paths to be significantly different. Every time we went through, none of the other people in the maze seemed to be impressed either. It was really disappointing to realize that Sinister Pointe has regressed into being nothing more than an overpriced junior high school haunted house. We think that this was the first time that a haunt has left us feeling depressed, as it had very little redeeming qualities about it.
What seems to have gone wrong is that the overall set design and talent has fallen far below the quality that Sinister Pointe has spoiled us with before. We give credit to a few scareactors who were giving it their all, but the rest seemed just as lost in the maze as we did. We understand that the haunt business is a tough one and requires haunters to make a big investment to produce a quality maze. Given their tenure and established name in the industry, we expected that Sinister Pointe would have both the creativity and resources to produce another high-end experience. Alas, all we got was a cleverly marketed but ill-conceived haunted house experience.
Our hope is that this year was just a fluke and due to circumstances beyond their control, they weren’t able to produce the haunt they had initially intended to make. However, we can’t make excuses here, and since they’re taking people’s money, we can’t in good conscience give them a good review. Sad to say that this a a first-class haunt that has gone all the way back to coach. Sinisterly Pointless, indeed.