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Fear Brighton

 

 

Fear Brighton opened up in Brighton in 2012, but closed in early 2013.

 
Old Review: 9

For quite a few years I've been saying how someone should build a horror attraction in my home town of Brighton. With a large number of visitors of the right age it seemed like a nice gap in the market to fill. When I finally heard the news of Fear Brighton opening it was obviously a source of excitement.
Reviewing a year round scare attraction brings back some of the dilemmas I had when I reviewed the now defunct Pasaje Del Terror at the London Trocadero. The questions I asked were should a live action horror maze even be in the scenic ride charts, and does it deserve a top spot when I've been on several better (non permanent) examples of the genre.
Both attractions abilities to dominate the charts I think says more about how dark rides in the UK are a little on the weak side, rather than a huge unfair advantage. You don't have to go to Disney to find lots of family rides in Europe that would hold their own against these rides in the charts.
As for Fear Brighton being undeserving of accolade, that's a total non issue, this ranks up there as one of the best horror attractions I've done.
For starters you've got good maze design. I'm reminded a little of Nemesis, where it's said the restrictions when designing it created a better ride. They had a limited space to design the maze, and this has resulted in a much scarier experience. For starters there is a much more claustrophobic atmosphere with narrow corridors throughout. There's no reassuring gap  between you and any potential scares here, it's all up close and personal. The confined space also results in a twisted and confusing layout. This combined with numerous curtains obstructing your view mean you never know what's coming, and there were even points where I found myself genuinely not knowing what to do, which considering the amount of experience I have leading groups around these mazes is saying something.
The credit can't all go to the layout design though, a lot has to go to the actors. They are up there with some of the best I've encountered They rely surprisingly little on sudden shock scares and the usual grunts and growls. Instead they portray a group of haunting and twisted characters. This goes a long way to creating an atmosphere scarier than the bogeyman jumping out the closet scares would create.
The final important ingredient is the theming, and the tone it sets. For starters it's all of a good quality, but the real coup de gra for the theming and the whole attraction is how it builds up the tension. On practically every other horror maze I've done the tone has been set in the first minute or two, and has maintained it to either the end of the ride, or at least until the finally. This means on even the freakier mazes your mind gets a chance to settle. Here the tone changes, it starts out scary, but maintains a bit of a comedy aspect, but as it goes on things gradually get more intense and scary. This means you can never completely settle, keeping you on edge throughout.
Are there any flaws then? Well maybe there are one or two points that need some tweaks to achieve perfection, but the overall quality is so high these issues barely warrant a mention. This easily ranks as one of the best and scariest of all the horror mazes I've done. This being a local attraction for me I'm likely to do this one many times in the future, but even for horror attraction fans for further afield this is a must do.