Written By Jaimz Dillman
Photography by Olivia Roman
If you're in downtown Ocoee and notice small clusters of headphoned individuals following a quarterstaff wielding leader, you've stumbled upon the immersive horror audio drama- Infected. You don't watch the show. You're in it. Writer Megan Markham has created an all-new horror adventure using an us-against-them storyline that's all too relevant to today's current events.
Check-in at Dragonfly studios has participants sign waivers, sanitize hands, and enter the waiting area. Your $60 time slot allows for up to 5 in your group and shows are slated for every 30 minutes 7 pm -midnight. After a quick instruction on your headphones and a long intro video including safety and the basic premise, you're ushered out the back of the building to begin your journey.
Stepping out into the dark night with audio by Amanda Simmons playing directly in your ears you really feel an immediate sense of dread for what's about to happen. The silent disco tech from Quiet Events enhanced our environment to the point we were seriously looking around for the predators heard in our heads. Techs guided us to stop or go as it wasn't too clear from the actor's whether we should follow or stay at times. Wear sneakers, as the website states, the terrain is rocky and uneven at times.
Director Mallory Vance has the experience from past shows at Orlando Fringe to make the most of Phoenix Tears' first foray into scary storytelling. Our two actors, (Tim Watt- Nate, Alex Madison Payne- Kath) did well acting along with the prerecorded scenes (Voices of Alex Voeller and Callie Wills) considering they're masked and one is also hooded, although lights around the edge of the hood helped a lot.
While the sound upped the freak factor, the actual scares left us wanting just a bit more. There were some stop points we couldn't see what was happening due to darkness, expected jump scares weren't there, and an emotional break went on a bit too long. But a good reveal lit well enough for us to see had a great payoff of the realization that brought us to the ending. It probably could've gone on a bit longer but felt like a full story length.
Two different casts rotate throughout the night and tickets are required to be booked in advance to schedule the crew. With a group splitting the cost (and coupon code "Underground" saving you $10, you're welcome) this makes for a safe, fun, and different experience to add to your Halloween options through the month of October.
Tickets can be purchased HERE! And find out more about upcoming events and this kick-ass women-led production company making traditional and interactive theater in Orlando and online. https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixTearsPR/ Creepy Kingdom's Statement on Covering Haunts during the Pandemic