Ohio Valley Haunts
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Ohio Valley Haunts
Reviewed 9/28/12
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18 S. Perry St.
Pontiac, MI  48342
(248) 332-7884
Fri/Sat 6 PM - 12:30 AM
Sun/Weds/Thurs 7 - 10:30 PM (6 on Sun)
$28 Fri/Sat & $25 Sun
 $23 Wed/Thurs & 10/29-31.
$45 V.I.P.
EREBUS:  Spooky music accompanies a lengthy walk from the queue line area to an enraged ticket taker, then up some steps into the attraction itself, where a "live" newscast plays on a TV monitor featuring on-location reports regarding some sort of incident that's taken place at Erebus.  The adventure proper begins as groups are gathered together in a time machine for a short presentation of the backstory that results in an immediate surprise when the projection screen itself is blown apart by a huge gust of wind!  Following the briefing, decontamination takes place inside one of six unique detoxification chambers where customers are scanned for a variety of afflictions including viral infections, gender identity conflicts, the presence of narcotics, STD's, etc., then released into "code red" - a darkened hallway that witnesses a helpless victim being disintegrated by an acidic shower, and vanishing right before your very eyes as you stare on in disbelief!  Ignoring requests to identify oneself results in gunshots ringing out from some sort of military presence that's attempting to secure the facility.  Bodies are projected into the path as sirens blare, and civilians are rushed to evacuate.  Frenzied cries for help fill the air as toilets disgustingly erupt spraying germ-ridden fluid everywhere!  More catastrophes are revealed at the site where a missile has crashed into a wall, and a distraught man is seeking freedom from some sort of alien being that's sunk its teeth into his hand and won't let go!  Ceilings cave in, and the building bursts into flames while zombies are shot attempting to enter the facility through open windows!  Hallways tilt, rock, and move back and forth while flashing red lights illuminate the path in advance of an abandoned surveillance room, then into the resurrection of Uncle Freddy!  An immediate surprise gives way to a crypt-like mausoleum of caskets alongside a bottomless pit, where a wall comes closing in narrowing the walkway, and pushing you closer and closer to the edge!  Eluding the fall leads to a series of three panels that alternately slide shut closing off the path resulting in brief group separation, then a foggy iron fence maze that hides the unexpected attack of a pack of rabid mechanical dogs!  Still to come is a Night of the Living Dead encounter, a collapsing clothes closet, and a wicked lab of free-flowing electricity that's occupied by an irate doctor inviting one and all to come witness her creation!  A mysterious green laser light illuminates continuance upstairs that finds an entire room being shaken to its very foundation by a huge wrecking ball that unexpectedly comes crashing through a window!  An elevator surprise lies ahead, then jungle sounds fill the air as it's onto a run-in with a discontented gorilla grabbing onto your legs with his enormous hands!  Passing through the mouth of a large skull exposes slanted walkways and ramps that lead past a caged loony attempting to escape imprisonment, then through branches and overhanging limbs that complicate the entrance into an impressive swamp scene where fog lays low, varmints come flying out of the depths, and the murky "waters" rise up over your heads as you struggle to work your way onward!  Several space invading onslaughts await completion of the swamp, including a giant dinosaur that's hungry for its next meal; then the head of second t-rex lunging out of hiding, crashing into your legs, knocking you backwards, and pinning you up against a wall!  Wolf-like creatures chomp repeatedly at bypassers' ankles, and a deadly grim reaper reaches down from an overhead zip line, én route to cramped passages that require crouching down in order to progress.  A near-miss hit and run with a horn blasting truck introduces The Erebus Mine, where a sudden cave-in results in innocent victims being buried alive!  Survival leads to a giant rolling pin of spikes barreling down towards you while the wall behind closes in trying to force onlookers directly into its deadly path provoking conflict with a gargantuan, snarling witch doctor!  From there, it's onto a spinning vortex highlighted by a tilting bridgeway that results in being swallowed up by the mouth of some unknown giant, inciting a claustrophobic assault courtesy of a viciously growling werewolf-like beast coinciding with an overhead zip-line surprise!  A barrage of mechanical savages are next to be riled up prior to a sudden chainsaw chase past a UFO that serves as the concluding leg of the 2012 Erebus experience. 

LENGTH - 10, 31 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, An adequate cast size staffs the attraction.  A few early encounters are enriched with meaningful dialogue, but most serve only to direct traffic with numerous repetitions of "right this way."  One encouraged, "don't be scared," which doesn't make sense as that's what you're there for!  Obtaining a group member's name is clever at one point, and leads to a succession of characters tauntingly yelling it out in advance of their scenes!  Total Characters = 51.
SCARINESS - 9½, A great soundtrack early on becomes a bit quiet at times as the journey progresses.  Unique scenes expose customers to many confrontational scares not seen elsewhere in the industry. 
DESIGN - 9½,  The lengthy course covers 4 floors of the structure and hosts many scenes that can only be seen at Erebus (bottomless pit, wrecking ball, buried alive, etc.).  Audio enhancement is customized to individual scenes.  Decontamination, disintegrating victim, and swamp are among other favorite scenes, but lighting isn't the best and often makes some things difficult to see.  Spider has been replaced with monster that "swallows you alive," which is characteristic of the attractions many inventive scares.  Giant winged, and red-eyed monsters have also debuted or been relocated.  Chainsaw is electric, and UFO finish continues to be uneventful, thus holding back the score.
PROPS - 10, Erebus is packed full of uniquely created animatronics and monsters that are invasive in nature, actually making contact with patrons on several occasions.  Buried alive scene is one of a kind, wall/bottomless pit delivers an amazing scare, and swamp has been copied by several other haunts!  Initial welcoming surprise is also top notch.  Wrecking ball is likewise impressive as previously mentioned, although its timing is a bit early.  Elevator doors failed to close all the way; and tesla coil wasn't in working order on the night of our visit.
VALUE - 9, Some of the most impressive scares the industry has to offer are displayed at Erebus, but the cost has risen $5 a head to $28 on weekends ($45 VIP) making it one of the most expensive attractions around, and there's a $4 parking surcharge to boot.  Price hike can't be ignored, and impacts the overall score, as well as its bid for top seasonal honors.
RATING:  9½ (9.4), The density of unique scares is second to none, and this legitimate contender for Haunt of the Year designs many of them on their own, as opposed to purchasing scares from suppliers!  Free t-shirts are given during the first hour nightly, or to the first 200 visitors, whichever comes first.  Erebus is among the best haunts in existence, and certainly one of the most unique.  Pay them a visit, and ask to see their monsters!