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Review: Skinned Alive

RATING: 5 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 7:42

If being captured by a cannibalistic serial killer was always this fun, I might just try to do it more often!


Nefarious serial killer Herbert Ventor has just abducted you in a scheme to steal your identity… particularly the skin on your face.  He has taken you to an abandoned house and locked you in a basement where you join several other victims already in his clutches.


As authorities attempt to untangle a complicated web of deadly crime scenes in an investigation that spans several states, your time is running out. Herbert has left for an hour to gather his carving tools and now is your chance to escape.


Every second of this experience is immersively story-driven, starting with an incredible surprise that I’m dying to share, but simply must be experienced on its own.


The sixty minutes that follow are a nerve-wracking real life race against the clock to literally save the skin on your own face. The sense of urgency created in this game is palpable. There’s no question that this is a life or death situation with very real, very gruesome consequences.


Skinned Alive, technically is a single room game – however, very clever use of chain link fencing and a gate transforms it into one that absolutely feels like a multi-room experience.


What further results from this approach is the delicious tease of being able to see things you need just barely out of reach, but know you simply cannot get to them yet.


The space you’re trapped in evokes the feeling of an aged, dingy boiler room, clearly left in a state of disrepair. Pipes line the walls, with exposed ducts looming above you. There’s even some atmospheric effects that fans of haunts will be quite familiar with, which only further crank the immersion factor up to eleven.


Skinned Alive makes it easy to get lost within the storyworld it creates, no matter how warped and twisted it may be. And though I’m not sure what this says about me, I loved every sinister second.


As with all of Escape Thrill’s games, each puzzle step is logical, intuitive and story-driven. Skinned Alive’s puzzles are thought provoking and perhaps even more challenging than the venue’s other games – an appropriate fact when considering the intense subject matter at play.


You’d better take the story of Herbert Ventor very, very seriously; if you don’t, I promise you will once you start literally collecting pieces of his prior victims’ skin throughout the course of your experience. If that’s not a way to paint the picture of consequences for a failed escape, I just don’t know what is!


But what would you say if I told you collecting human flesh is far from the most terrifying puzzle step you’ll be expected to tackle in this game? I promise you, Skinned Alive has the single most disturbing, most frightening, most phobia-inducing escape game moment you’ll ever see – and this one is one hundred percent entirely real.


And you know I’m not going to tell you what it is.


It’s exciting times in Central Florida, as more and more fantastic games seem to be opening every day – and from the start of that surge, Escape Thrill has been at the forefront. One of the first Florida-based venues to receive a 5 Key rating from Escape Authority, we walked in with very high expectations for Skinned Alive. Escape Thrill FAR exceeded those expectations.


Skinned Alive isn’t one of the best games I’ve played in Florida; it’s one of the best games I’ve played, period. So highly immersive, so story driven, and so fun. It’s SO GOOD.


Skinned Alive is a must-see game, however, to be fair I need to stress that I have been a fan of haunted attractions all of my life. If you are not one to enjoy intense themes and lack the ability to stomach gory content, as much as it pains me to admit this might not be the game for you. But if you think you can manage to brave it out, you’re in for one hell of a ride.


Escape Thrill’s mom and pop shop has long been one of our favorite venues in the United States, and with Skinned Alive they’ve collected their definitive gory, blood-stained crown jewel.


PS – remember that single most disturbing, most frightening, most phobia-inducing escape game moment you’ll ever see that I referenced earlier? Yeah – still not going to tell you what it is, but I will tell you this: I don’t scare in haunts, at all. Next to nothing is going to freak me out, but when I saw this, I looked directly into the camera and simply said “There’s no f*$%ing way I’m doing that.” 


Let THAT sink in for a minute. Skinned Alive is just THAT badass.


Venue Details

Venue:  Escape Thrill

Location: Clearwater, Florida

Number of Games: 4


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $28 per person


EAR Disclaimer

We thank Escape Thrill for inviting us to review this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.


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