By Grant Duvall
Most people wouldn't expect a mall to be home to one of the most frightening haunts ever designed. Dubai, however, is a very unique beast in that they break every mold. Hysteria at the Dubai Mall, right in the same complex as the Burj Khalifa, is a truly horrifying experience.
Hysteria is located on the top floor, next to the children's play area and the video game stores. It is a very scary-looking castle of a store front, which is a stark contrast to the children's area that surrounds it. Hysteria is also included with the Go Dubai card, making it a great deal if you go and plan on doing all of the attractions for one, reasonable price. They market this as an extreme fear experience unlike anything you have ever tried, and I would be inclined to agree.
I got my ticket from a lovely woman who was dressed as a demon. I was then told to wait. While waiting, I could hear the screaming of all of the victims that had gone through ahead of me. Loud noises, like nail guns and chainsaws, filled my ears. This actually had me very freaked out.
My wife did not go in, as this is not her thing at all. The two guys in their 20's exited, and were so frightened, one had tears in his eyes. And then it happened. I found out I was going through the extreme haunt alone. My head was filled with thoughts such as, “Why am I doing this?” and “Isn’t this how people die in horror movies?”
Hysteria seemed far more intense than any haunt I had ever tried, other than perhaps a VR experience in China where I was strapped into a wheelchair while the girl from The Ring waved a knife at my eyeballs. But it was too late. I was going in.
The backstory of this haunt is a mansion where a couple’s children were taken from them in the middle of the night. The couple have since died, but their vengeful spirits roam the house. They believe that the people who enter the haunt are responsible for taking their children. That’s a sufficiently scary premise that I haven't seen before!
Also, during Halloween, you go through the 15 rooms armed only with a glowstick, and the lights are completely out. I would love to see that. During Christmas, Krampus roams the hallways. It's a nice touch that is not normally seen in year-round haunts.
Upon entering the door, I stared at a screen that told the story of what happened in the house. Then, I was told that time was running out for me, and I was doomed! As soon as that was said, a scare actor in very elaborate makeup burst through a curtain and shot a nail gun (filled with compressed air) in my face!
He then chased me through the room, and another person joined in with a pipe. They were making loud noises, by hitting the pipe against another piece of metal. It was pretty intense, especially since I was all alone. The sets were gory, scary, and lit just well enough to see what was going on. I also need to mention that there were spinning wheels on the ground that turned you around, so there is very uneven footing at times. There are 15 rooms in total, and each one is gorier than the next. About 7-10 minutes later, I was getting chased out with a chainsaw. This was truly an incredible work of art.
If you happen to be in Dubai, there is no way that you will not find yourself at the Dubai mall at least once. I wound up there 3 times in 10 days. This is a truly frightening experience and, while kids are allowed, it should really be experienced by adults only. I cannot wait to go back and see it again. Maybe next time I won’t run through it as quickly. As far as extreme (safe) haunts go, this is heads and shoulders above the rest.
Creepy score - 10 out of 10. This is one of the most frightening things I have ever done.
For more info visit their website: http://hysteria.ae