Do you ever feel like you’re in a dream? A girl looks down at me, perched upon a desk like a bird of prey. Once, I dreamt of being trapped in a morgue; the door closing, locking me inside – to prevent the dead from escaping. She smiles. Well, that’s what’s going to happen to you. I step through the door, into the very morgue that she had dreamt of. A woman in a dirty nurse’s outfit opens the closest morgue locker. Slide in – there’s only room for one. I get on all fours and climb in; the door shuts behind me, locking me in the darkness. bane
After years of frightening the residents of New Jersey, Bulletproof Production’s Bane opens its doors in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Bane is a thirty-minute walk-through haunted house that innovates beyond tradition by separating guests at multiple points during the experience. Further, guests will be asked to crawl, slide, spin, and explore to find their way through the attraction. While actors can touch audience members, it’s not an extreme haunt in any form – more resembling the now-defunct Evil Twin Studios. But regardless of form, it’s a fun and incredibly frightening experience for fans of all intensity levels.
Bane does not utilize a single theme within its walls, but rather uses a shotgun approach in which all phobias are touched on at some point. Whether it’s clowns, nuns, zombies, or hillbillies, you’ll face them all. Further, everything from coffins or morgue lockers to wells are used to separate groups. These are used to perfection, too – as guests are not immediately reunited with the party right after. Instead, guests will continue down different paths of different lengths, ensuring that parties are permanently separated for the remainder of their tenure at Bane. This is the most fear-inducing part, raising the number of safeties beyond any normal haunted house.
Like The 17th Door, Bane relishes in the number of “mercies” they receive (their safe-word). As we waited to go in, we saw the number of broadcasted mercies skyrocket a good thirty people on a digital board, most guests not even making it past the first room. With a strong actor utilizing fear tactics at the start and actively yelling at scared audiences, Bane effectively creates a thick air of dread before you even enter. Combine this with plenty of misdirection within as well as fake-outs of what is actually happening, having over one-hundred safeties in a given night is well expected.
The general fear comes from strong and enthusiastic actors. These actors clearly find joy in seeing friends, families, and especially couples separated. With the ability to touch, they actively seek out those holding hands, holding one back while forcing the other to progress. While Bane does excel at its jump-scares, the best moments are the ones of interactivity. Actors will talk to you, play with you, and warn you of what’s ahead – which is often an interactive section. With these warnings, they play a mental game – creating a sense of dread and anticipation unlike any other haunted house I’ve experienced.
Finally, a word of advice: Spring for the VIP ticket, which allows you to skip the line. While I did attend on a Saturday night, the line was 3-hours long for General Admission, and they stopped selling VIP upgrades. We made it in around 1am with GA, which was hours after our ticketed time of 11pm. This is not a gripe, but rather, praise that they kept the haunt open, accommodating every single person who bought a ticket. That is true dedication.
Bane elevates the traditional haunt by actively creating a sense of dread that permeates through every inch of the experience. It separates guests, pushing them outside of the familiarity and comfort of their friends and loved ones, forcing them to go through – not alone – but with the strangers found along the way. With gorgeously themed sets, passionate actors, and interactive scenes, Bane is the scariest haunted house in New York.
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