[Immersive Experience] Delusion Reaper’s Remorse

[Immersive Experience] Delusion Reaper's Remorse
Courtesy of 13th Floor Entertainment Group
Can one really say it’s Halloween season if Delusion doesn’t have a show? Since 2011, Delusion has been putting on some of the most elaborate and terrifying interactive experiences seen in SoCal. Due to the pandemic last year as well as stay-at-home orders, we were robbed of both their shows and Halloween. But, as fate would have it, they have returned this year with a fiery passion to present to their fans their latest interactive horror show, REAPER’S REMORSE.

To protect the essence of the show and to not spoil any surprises, I’ll turn to the official synopsis: “There are some dead that won’t let go. Clutching to this world by whatever threads they can find. Pretty red shoes. A shotgun. A loved one left behind. And although these strands of life can be innocent as a child’s toy…everything has its price. A price only Esther Phillips can afford…A rare invitation has been extended to you, fellow lovers of the occult. An exclusive evening to play your part in the haunting and epic story of Esther Phillips.”

Located at the stunning Phillips Mansion in Pomona, CA, the experience begins as soon as you step onto the grounds. Before the main show begins, guests get to immerse themselves in an open-world concept that takes place outdoors. When speaking with creator Jon Braver, he discussed in-depth what guests would experience but unfortunately, I found this to be the weakest aspect of the show. Due to this aspect being heavily pushed, I expected something much more engaging. Instead, it was a few scattered chairs, a food truck, an open cellar door, and an actor or two that were walking around but barely ever seen. Even when talking with the actor(s), there was barely any indication of what/who they were and nothing to indicate an additional narrative to the rest of the story. That being said, the little experience that took place in the cellar was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed watching my friends scream trying to find the courage to go down the dark opening to see what horrors awaited.

Image courtesy of Delusion

Since we received the VIP package, we were given a special ticket upgrade that granted us access to the second floor of Phillips Manor. Here we found the Dark Arts Bar & Lounge which included entertainment such as a magic show from one of the residents. Though we had a good time getting drinks and having a little magic show, the best part of this upgrade was being able to experience “Her Private Collection,” a short, immersive walk-through that gave guests an even deeper understanding of Esther Phillips and her ongoing story, which added more substance to the overall narrative. All that being said, the VIP add-on which is an additional $30 would probably have been something that I would have passed on as I think the price is too steep for the additional experience.

As for the main show itself, it was nothing less than mind-blowing. Situated behind Phillips Manor was a dilapidated mansion bathed in shadows which we were led to by the groundskeeper. The exterior was impressive but nothing compared to when we were led off to the side to walk through a graveyard. Here is where I saw one of the most surprising tricks to date and one I’ll keep quiet about so others can experience it. Afterward, we were brought into the home where the real terror awaited.

As grand as this experience was, one of my biggest gripes had to do with how difficult it was to hear what the actors were saying. This could be for a number of reasons, the biggest being that the actors were wearing masks. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather the actors be masked for the safety of themselves and others, but I’m wondering if there was a way in which the guests could have heard the actors better. For me personally, I have auditory issues which I think also contributed to having a difficult time hearing what was going on. Even so, I was able to pick up on some cues and a general idea of the story through the performance of the actors, which says a lot about their talent.

Image courtesy of Delusion

As our host led us through the three-story house, we encountered unimaginable horrors in each and every room. One of my favorites had me and a few of my guests crawling through a closet in hopes of gaining a key… if we could survive the creature that inhabited it. As with every Delusion show, the set and production design were exquisite and movie-worthy. There’s nothing for me to critique here cause Braver and his team are masters in creating an atmospheric dread that permeates throughout the space. Add on talented actors and elaborate special effects and you have a show that is unlike anything else in SoCal.

Overall, REAPER’S REMORSE was outstanding, especially in regards to what they were able to accomplish during a pandemic. Though there were issues with understanding what was unfolding sound-wise, the actors made up for it with their performances. I do want to note that more lights would probably be beneficial. As I was exiting the mansion through a set of stairs, the last step was much further away than anticipated causing me to fall and injure my toe, something I’ve been dealing with for almost 2 months now. I bring this up to remind people to be careful as they are going through this experience, especially when there isn’t a lot of light.

REAPER’S REMORSE has a lot going for it. It’s haunting, dramatic, and monumental, and I’m forever impressed with what these folks are able to conjure up. Since I went early in September, I realize my issues may have been press night jitters, which I hope is the case. If you’re still fiending for more Halloween spookiness, you are in luck for REAPER’S REMORSE will be ongoing each weekend until the end of November. For more information or to purchase tickets visit enterdelusion.com. Just remember… the dead don’t always leave…

Shannon McGrew
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Experiences, Immersive

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