With Halloween season in full swing, there is an abundance of haunts to be discovered and a plethora of escape rooms to abscond from. We here at Blumhouse like to think that we have the acute expertise to perform feats of Houdini-style prowess when it comes to escaping horror-related situations, so it was only fitting that we tested PanIQ Entertainment’s Insane Asylum Room in Hollywood.
Upon arrival we were greeted by what looked like a hospital worker who informed us that our group was to be locked in the INSANE ASYLUM room. They also advised us that one member of our group was going to have to wear a strait-jacket for the duration of the night. Of course, this did nothing to faze our staunch thrill-seeking group, and only made us more eager to enter the depths of the asylum.
Our guide let us know that we were entering an institution that was filled with clues that would ultimately lead us to escape from the bleak depths of the sanatorium.
Prior to our clock being set to one hour, our friendly hospital worker showed us around the pitch-black room, leaving us wondering how on earth we were to solve anything with minimal ophthalmic facilities. It was a relief when we were informed that if we were clever enough, we might discover some flashlights that would enable us to navigate through the darkness. There were to be no cell phones (which may be a horror for some in itself), but they were kind enough to point us in the direction of an intercom that we were able to use after fifteen minutes to ask for revelatory tidbits.
Each clue solved would unlock the next, and soon had us closer to breaking free from the oppressive clutches of the pitch-black cell. Secrets of former inmates, concealed keys and secret rooms are but a few of the gems in this escape room’s repertoire.
The puzzles are well thought-out and fit in with the theme, and the attention to detail in making the room fit the bill of an archaic lodging for the insane was wonderful. Dissecting and tearing the room apart is a whole lot of fun — despite the many decoys and cleverly hidden tip-offs to be found in the most ingenious ways.
Different escape rooms have different approaches; some like to reside on the gruesome side of the situation and focus on creating an atmosphere of doom by littering the room with mild scares and creepy sound effects, but it is clear that the folk at PanIQ like to keep it all about the puzzles and perplexity of a high-brow treasure hunt — in other words, this is more of a thinking horror enthusiast’s escape room.
With a huge reminder of our diminishing time with a huge red LED clock looming above us, team Blumhouse was thrilled to find the final key and unlock our way to freedom… with fifteen minutes to spare.
For those who are new to escape rooms, PanIQ’s INSANE ASYLUM room is a great place to start; it’s quite challenging, but broad enough to understand how the game works and not leave one in too much of a state of befuddlement. This writer is already contemplating trying their other room, THE BUNKER, as it is rumored to take the difficulty factor to a whole other level.
For tickets and further information visit the PanIQ Entertainment website… and check out the teaser video below!