Primevil Review: ‘You’re sure of a very big, beastly surprise’

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

As a veteran of Primevil – this was my sixth year – it's always a thrill to initiate some new victims and this year I had two: my daughter's boyfriend Ben and my other half, Richard.

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

It's quite a tall order to describe to someone who has never been through a live-action horror maze quite what they're like. It's much better to take them through and watch them tremble and scream (or is that just me?) – so that's what I did.

First, we tackled Circus of Terror: The Homecoming, which sees the generally PG-rated woodland maze transformed into the home of insane clowns with a penchant for human flesh. Clowns jump out at you from dark corners, pursue you with chainsaws and talk about which guest looks the tastiest – you can see why Johnny Depp has a life-long fear of the bewigged jesters.

Next we headed to The Forest of Fear, where The Woodland Trotters are keen the forest path is kept open for ramblers, even though the aforementioned ramblers are being picked off by something menacing in the wood.

I won't give the game away, but park managing director Martin Goymour has invested hugely in this year's Primevil and if you go down to the woods in the next fortnight, you're sure of a very big, beastly surprise thanks to massive special effects.

At the end of Forest of Fear is Zone 64 East, a fantastic new scare maze where you're pursued by the undead through open ground and then room after room of horrendous experiments.

Then we took the steep walk back to the main park and the largest of the five live horror experiences, Mayhem Manor Hotel, which offers small groups the chance to take a haunted lift to the worst hotel imaginable, filled with blood, gore and things that go bump in the night. Again, I won't spoil the surprises, other than to say that the hotel takes Primevil to a whole new level of Halloween attraction. Amazing.

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We saved one of my favourites until last: The Dark. An ordinary-looking building has been transformed into a maze of twisting and turning corridors with spongy floors, wet things hanging from the ceiling and an unwelcome guest who greets you halfway round. Worst of all, you must negotiate it all in pitch blackness.

My new recruits absolutely loved Primevil, while the veterans enjoyed the new twists. If you're under 12 or scare easily, keep away. Otherwise, head for the woods where it is absolutely definitely behind you.

•PrimEVIL is at Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, until November 1. The event is not suitable for children under the age of 12, and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets cost £15.95 to £19.95 from www.primevil-scare.com.

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