Ever since childhood, sudden loud sounds have caused me discomfort. I also have an incredible fear of the dark. No, not like I can’t walk alone at night…like I turn off the light and then catapult myself into bed to avoid something grabbing me in the dark. So when I walked into The Bunker, the first thing that caught my attention was that it looked like I was walking into the actual basement of a psychotic murderer, and that the noises of a war outside surrounding me were as terrifying as the dark corners everywhere. I hadn’t even spoken to the awesome staff yet, and I was already nervous!
When I got inside, there was a small mixer for the guests of Press Night and plenty of people to talk to about the experience. One group had already gone in, and they were obviously a bit shaken. They laughed with the staff remembering their scares and told us it was a great experience. As we snacked on munchies and wine, we watched the introductory video to the escape room. Thrust into the terror and anxiety of the Bunker’s final survivors on a helmet camera’s feed, we learn that vandals are attacking the compound, and there is an important map that is lost. Alarms begin to blare and my hair was standing on end, my skin prickling with goosebumps (or people bumps, for geese so inclined) as we stepped into the first room of the Bunker and the door was locked behind us.
Immediately, the noises of war outside and people (or something else) trying to force their way in escalated to terrifying levels, and I found myself frozen as the sound of heavy artillery ricocheted through the room. Thankfully, I found a weapon, and then I was able to function with less fear. I personally was just floored by the ambient noise, and there was plenty of that with some to spare. There was never a truly quiet moment; my fellow-explorer and I found ourselves trying to calm ourselves enough to get out.
In this room, it is imperative that you pay attention to every detail. Let nothing escape your mind, and think carefully about anything suspicious that you might find laying around. It’s easy to get distracted by the noises and the inescapable thought that there could be a jumpscare at any minute (but I won’t tell you if there is or not hehe). I was certainly the biggest baby ever in this one, poking things with a plastic knife to make sure nothing would get me and panicking at every burst of noise. My friend even asked if I’d feel better carrying one of the frying pans, but I declined, not wanting to hit an actor in the face if there was a jumpscare (See? I’m considerate!).
The Bunker experience was shortened for Press Night. Three rooms were left locked and we were able to focus on our escape, but what an escape it was. The final part of the experience is a maze, and although it’s thankfully nothing difficult, I did get the pants scared off of me in there. The maze does include a strobe light, so anyone with a medical condition that a strobe light would affect should probably not do this escape experience, or perhaps contact the amazing staff and ask if they can assist in making the experience playable for them.
The suspense factor is definitely heightened, especially because there is no timer counting down in plain sight like in most escape rooms. Unless you are wearing a watch, you’ll have no idea how much time you have left or how long you’ve been in there. I suggest that, despite the overlapping of different war sounds and other terrifying noises, you use your ears to your advantage. I think the Bunker Experience will be a massive success. Promoting time management, teamwork, and communication, this experience really forces you to leave your warm little comfort zone and thrust yourself into the cold reality of a post-apocalyptic world where you are either going to escape or die trying. I loved this room and I am excited to see how others experience it!