Pataskala Haunted Forest-“A Murdock Family Massacre”
When we arrived at Pataskala Haunted Forest it was more crowded than we’ve seen it in a long time. We always look forward to visiting this haunt because it is one of the more unique haunts in Ohio. But did we leave with a good lasting impression?
Length-10: It will take you nearly 30 minutes to escape the haunted forest where the Murdocks dwell. There are only a few areas where occasionally little is happening. This is the case where groups have to catch up with the tour guides.
Design-8: Pataskala Haunted Forest consists of various skits that take place in small huts. These skits are entertaining, but can be somewhat drawn out to the point where you’re wishing they’ll be over soon. I understand that the creators want a lengthy haunt, but they may be better off mixing together a traditional haunted trail with scripted scenes. This would please people who love startling scares and intriguing stories that develop as you progress from skit to skit. Scenes include a moonshine bar, clown prison, a church service and much more.
Props/Animatronics-7: This haunt’s focus isn’t on fancy props or well layed out sets. The focus is on scripted scenes that involve actors and customers who go though the trail. Additional animated scares would help keep people’s interest in the haunting skits.
Acting-8: I have to give Pataskala Haunted Forest credit for having their actors memorize skits that have interesting stories which people can easily follow. But occasionally characters become distracted by people talking or not paying attention and this ultimately ruins the skit and makes it much longer than it should be. There are way too many moments where a scene is very creative, but ends with a chainsaw chase out. Every other scene seems to include a gas powered chainsaw and after you’ve seen this 3 times in a row it starts losing its impact. The highlight of the night goes to the old man who tells the tale of the Murdock Family as He wanders around his rickety deck. He’s obviously the most well trained actor Pataskala has and it will be a shame if He leaves this haunt.
Scare Effect-7: There are occasionally some creepy scenes, but there are far too many skits that rely on chainsaws as their finish. It’s really a shame since this trail is very creative and has lots of potential for the future.
Fright Value: $10 seems like a reasonable price for a haunt that lasts 30 minutes or more. Plus parking is among the cheapest we’ve seen from haunts that charge to park your vehicle.
Final Stab-8.0: There are a few problems I have with Pataskala Haunted Forest. While they may have some intriguing stories, far too many of the skits fall short because of overacting. More well trained actors need to be used in order for the skits to have a bigger impact. But either way you look at it, this is one of the most unique haunted trails in Ohio.