So, I visited Fright Nights for the first time on Thursday and Friday, so I'll give my review of the event as someone that's only been to Scarefest, and had been reading the reviews here of mazes to see what should be good and what isn't, which led to some disappointments and surprises.
First of all, the Thursday was a quiet day, since not many people were off for half term and the park was running smoothly with just a few rides temporarily going down, the Friday was far busier with a lot more issues, such as half the park going down due to a power outage leaving just 4 large rides and the mazes open. One of the things I found disappointing was that TWD:TR had no live actors in it despite trialing them the last time I went to TP, although some effects were added in the indoor queue section.
I'll preface the maze reviews by saying I've never been a fan of scare mazes as I'm quite jumpy, but I will do them.
TWD: Do Or Die - 4/10
We did 2 runs of this maze, once on the Thursday whilst it was still light, and once on the Friday in the dark. The first time was by far the best run of the maze for reasons I'll get on to soon, b ut overall the maze left a lot to be desired, with the scares being few and the intensity quite low, and the ending was really anticlimactic, with no actors in the final container. The second run through... It annoys me just to remember about it. Instead of batching groups of 6/8, they let the entire line of 20-30 people in at once, skipping scenes entirely, pushing people through as fast as possible, and ending up with a terrible experience with not a single scare moment.
TWD: Living Nightmare - 2/10
Only ran through once as this maze was such a disappointment, 2 actors for the first half of the maze and predictable hiding spaces (or lack thereof). The second half was quite forgettable as nothing really happened, leaving us with the idea that this was ridiculously rushed and not worth the 10 minute wait. Would probably be better if they used the Extreme version, but as the standard version it's not worth looking at.
Deadcreek Woods - 3/10
Nothing too special, like Zombie Hunt without the guns, actors had some funny moments, sending out one person of our group alone as they talked back to the actor at the start about being infected, scares were similar to ZH but they felt more natural and a bit better as they didn't have to run until their HP depleted.
Blair Witch - 1/10
I know what you're thinking, "how the hell could he put this at 1/10?!", but it was truly a massive disappointment. After waiting 20 minutes for it, an experience that feels like it took 1 minute outside of the starting story explanation was shockingly bad. The initial story explanation told us about the Blair Witch and not to look at "her", but we never saw "her" and the few actors in the maze were almost laughable, like one holding a stick to their face for seemingly no reason, making no attempt to interact with guests. The finale was also terrible, with just an actor with a light before we left, making us feel like the maze's story never concluded, or began for that matter, and we just walked through some shrubbery with obviously placed speakers, leaving confused with no idea what the hell we just went through, or how any of it was really relevant to the introduction. How this is some people's highest praised maze I don't know.
Saw Alive - 7/10
This was my best run through of the maze yet, with actors that were really intense, pushing and pulling people, really making you feel uncomfortable to be there. Same layout as always, so it could do with a refresh at some point, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Platform 15 - 5/10
Done 2 runs of this, the first in the day, the second at night, In the day the actors were quite easy to see, even in the tunnel, so it took away from some of the scares they could have had. At night, however, the actors seemed more into it, interacting far more and utilising more scenes than when we went through in the day. This meant that the scares were better, and the tunnel section was far more intense.
Vulcan Peak of Surprisement - 6/10
I'm going against what everyone else is saying here. I went into this expecting the worst, and came out thoroughly surprised by it. Could it have been improved mid season, who knows, all I know is it was quite a good maze, second best imo. After the introduction to the maze we were put into a conga line with the hoods on, with me at the front. There had to be multiple actors in there that got into my way and blocked me multiple times, got close and uncomfortable, grabbed my shoulder at various points and end up making me question whether a plant up against my leg was a plant or an actor. The use of some of IACs elements also worked well for this maze, such as the shaking floor. Once we got to the unhooded section things went down a small bit, with me getting confused where to go as an actor wasn't where they were supposed to be, but there were points where I was scared because I was expecting things to happen in places where they ultimately never did as there were quite a few places that looked like hiding spots. that went unutilised to good effect.
Amity high - 4/10
Only went through this section once whilst their thing was happening, but there wasn't a lot of interaction by the actors, and it just felt quite... ordinary? Like it never really made me feel like it was intended to be frightening, but the changes to Stealth's audio and the radio station in this area was quite refreshing.
Big Top Showtime - 6/10
I only went through the dome a few times over the 2 days, but we caught the beginning and end of their section, which seemed quite intense, with some of them getting right up into your personal space and edging closer and closer until you notice them. I did see more of them when they were just roaming around the park, and imo that is what they should be doing more of the time, as you could always tell where they were as they'd be walking in a large group, chasing people away from areas, or in one case surrounding one person in a group with 10 actors which made the phrase "nowhere is safe" seem like it wasn't a lie - at least when they were roaming.
IMO the mazes at Fright Nights leave a lot to be desired when compared to Alton Towers' selection, in terms of theming, actors, uniqueness and story. I think the main reason why Vulcan Peak was good to me was because it didn't follow the same routine as every other maze bar Saw Alive, with actors making the same noises in each, doing the same movements, and offering an experience that wasn't like the other mazes. Compare this to Alton, where although you need to pay per maze, each maze feels more full and worth it. The Mine tours, Welcoming, Terror of The Towers, and Sub Species were mazes that were all distinctively different experiences, and they didn't end up feeling the same at all as they all had completely different themes, stories and actor interactions (For example the Mine Tours had the helmets that would be controlled remotely, Sub Species had the actual maze section where you'd be literally pulled away from your friends and be allowed to make your own decisions, the Welcoming with it's heavily story driven maze and unique hooded section, and Terror of The Towers being the standard maze). The amount of times I heard the standard "blurgh" noise at TP followed by a hand to the face from an actor to the left or right, along with the lack of story telling just made most mazes feel the same, with very, very little to distinguish them from each other.