BCR: A Place to Scare's new drive-through haunt got off to a shaky start on Friday night. The Halloween fund-raiser (benefitting BCR: A Place to Grow) offered a hazardous course of haunted hairpin turns, but the emergency stops lasted so long that it felt as if our car was being black-flagged for the entire run.
Or, to set the motorsport metaphors aside, BCR's Drive-Through Haunt has a solid concept with good scenes, but it suffers from poor pacing, with too much elapsed time between vignettes. What it needs is some kind of drag-reduction system to kick the event into high-gear and get it into the winner's circle.
BCR Drive-Through Haunt Review: Description
Just to be clear, BCR'S Drive-Through Haunt is not Formula One race; it's a deliberately slow drive through the parking lot of BCR: A Place to Grow's location. Along the way, cars stop a half-dozen times to be menaced by monsters and/or view horrifying scenes that play out around them. Shrouded figures guide you to stopping places. Reciting lines from Macbeth, a pair of witches evoke spirits that manifest by digital projection on a large screen. A voodoo priestess barters for you soul. A strange cult enacts a grizzly blood sacrifice. A rabid crowd cries out for the execution of a witch...
The scenes vary in length, which creates problems for pacing the cars: when a short scene ends early, you have to sit tight and wait for the cars ahead of you to finish their scenes before you can move on. This creates a few long pauses, deflating tension instead of increasing it. It also means that some scenes run on too long, while others are not as developed as they should be.
The Shakespeare-quoting witches are fun for a while, but the scene goes on too long, in an effort to show off all the cool digital footage projected behind them. A bit with a lone victim begging for help is too brief to register properly, and the witch-execution at the end lacks a payoff. Best of all is the Voodoo scene, which features the most interactivity, with the priestess offering a Faustian bargain to protect you from the surrounding horrors. Also effective is the grim cult sacrifice, which ends with your vehicle swarmed by shrouded figures. Are they mere cult members or demons summoned by the sacrifice? Either way, they're spooky-cool.
BCR Drive-Through Haunt Review: Conclusion
As mentioned, BCR Drive-Through Haunt needs to pick up the pace. If the scenes flowed together more smoothly, not every scene would need to be a showstopper: the shorter bits would work as a small parts of a larger experience instead of having to stand on their own.
It also wouldn't hurt if there was more continuity between the various vignettes. Beginning and ending with witches suggests an attempt to bookend the experience, bringing it full circle; it would be nice to see a little more effort to tie all the pieces together, with a recurring character perhaps. A stronger climax at the end would be nice as well.
Ultimately, our experience of BCR'S Drive-Through Haunt felt a bit like flag-to-flag coverage of a race with too many pit stops and red flags. It's easy to imagine a reel of edited highlights deleting the delays to create a more intense experience. Hopefully, BCR can figure out a way to achieve this effect live, because conceptually their low-budget, non-profit DIY haunt has potential to be more effective than that some of this Halloween's professional drive-through attractions.
BCR Drive-Through Haunt Rating
BCR’s Drive-Through Haunt has a solid concept with good scenes, but the wait between scenes was too long on opening night. Tighter pacing could yield a more intense experience.
BCR’s Drive-Through Haunt continues on the weekend of October 23-25, running 6-11pm on Fridays & Saturday, till 10pm on Sundays. Admission is a $20 donation to BCR: A Place to Grow; Halloween Night is open donation – pay what you can. The address of BCR: A Place to Grow is 230 Amherst Drive, but the entrance to the parking lot is around the corner on a side street. For more information, visit facebook.com/bcraplacetoscare