Date of Visit: 9/24/22 Reviewer: Lindsay
It was only moments ago that I descended into the underbelly of this place; the ruins of a city built on death and darkness. Now, I'm picking my way carefully through a mansion that isn't at all what it seems... it almost feels alive. Inanimate objects move around me, there's a pervasive feeling of being watched, and I find myself occasionally threatened by one of the restless souls trapped within these walls. Every now and then, I spare a frantic glance backward, searching for the man in the blood soaked doctor's uniform who has hunted me since my arrival. Despite my attempts to avoid him, he appears to me in glimpses, and something in the way the cold light bathes his pale features and cloudy eyes only makes his presence more unsettling. If he catches me, I know my fate will not be a pleasant one... and that's more than enough reason for me to take my chances and keep moving.
I was once safe from him here, even in this house of nightmares. But the deranged doctor is no longer confined to his hospital, and is now on the loose in the Dead City... also known as Necropolis Underground, a multi-attraction haunt complex buried beneath the city of Indianapolis.
Formerly known as Necropolis: City of Perpetual Darkness, Necropolis has had a home in the Indy haunt scene for many years. In 2020, it was acquired by Sindicate Haunted House Group, who brought about a major overhaul to the entire building and rebranded it as Necropolis Underground. The complex now boasts four themed haunted houses, as well as an expansive midway at the end. Can you complete them all and make it out of the Dead City alive?
General admission to Necropolis Underground starts at $35, and grants access to all of the haunt's attractions. If lines are looking long, you can also upgrade to a Fast Pass ($50), and high rollers can go straight to the door with a Front of the Line ($75) pass! Looking for a place to park? The complex Necropolis is located in has several free spots - just be mindful of any trucks coming and going while you are there.
From the moment you (literally) descend underground into their lobby, Necropolis makes you feel like you've entered a decaying city. The walls are painted to appear as though grime and mold are running down, an effect only enhanced by the building's age. While your surroundings will start off fairly bright, the atmosphere quickly grows dark and ominous once you've obtained your tickets and walked into the queue. Spooky ambient lighting, a junked out car, and other effects help to create the illusion that you're entering an underworld, as do the industrial sounds and distorted announcements playing from an unseen source. (Speaking of which: if you get in line prior to opening and hear those announcements going off... or hear them a bit later in the night... get ready, because it's about to go down in there!)
The Underground is made up of four different haunted houses, each with its own story that connects it to the Dead City. Your journey begins in NIGHTMARE HOUSE, a super spooky, traditional Halloween tale of a home that's alive, thoroughly possessed, and would love to make you a part of its frightful family! Should you manage to escape this house of horrors, you'll then have to progress through the CEMETERY OF THE DAMNED, where those who didn't make it out of Necropolis alive take their eternal torment out on any visitors that step through its gates. Got past the Cemetery? Unfortunately, your weary souls will find no respite in the DEAD & BREAKFAST, a former hotel with a grisly past. And if you think you can seek treatment for any maladies you might've acquired here in THE BUNKER, well... that happens to be the practice of the infamous Dr. Cutter... and you might just come out worse than when you went in!
A small disclosure: I have only known this haunt since the Sindicate team took over. With that said, the level of immersion they've brought to this whole place is pretty amazing. Much of Nightmare House is awash in cold colored lighting, appropriate for its story. Groups will explore it from the front porch outside, all the way to the tunnels hidden beneath the mansion's personal cemetery - that offer hope of a safe exit. Cemetery of the Damned is a labyrinth of fences, vines, and crumbling tombstones that only gets darker and more hair-raising as you progress, and includes several SFX surprises. Getting through Dead & Breakfast requires guests to remember their room number, but every time you return to it, its contents become increasingly bizarre, eventually tugging you deeper into uncovering the hotel's secrets... there's more to it than meets the eye. And once you "check in" to The Bunker's messy, grimy waiting room, all hell breaks loose very quickly. One room is a jumbled mess of medical papers and equipment, another has bodies laid out on tables and wet specimens on shelves. The further you progress, the more the doctor's experiments are revealed, backed by an intense and frantic soundtrack that does a fantastic job of spurring you to get the heck out of there - least you become the next.
Necropolis is a massive haunt, with probably hundreds of places for its citizens to hide and scare unsuspecting visitors. I would imagine it's incredibly hard to fully staff all four attractions, and I could definitely tell they were running with fewer actors than they'd prefer. However, I thought they had a strong cast the night I came through. The maniac slinging a barbed wire-wrapped weapon outside of Nightmare sang a creative little jingle as he followed me, and I had fun with the male actor in the kitchen, who would slam whatever he was carrying on the counter... I'd jump and hesitate... and he giggled and repeated this action every time I stepped forward. In the Cemetery, a creepy creature with mismatched eyes and a black substance perpetually leaking from her mouth stalked and scared me several times, and really freaked me out at one point, contorting herself backward on a walkway and making the most unearthly noises! Moving over to Dead & Breakfast, one of my biggest laughs of the season came from the bellhop; a touch rude, but hilarious. "What name is your reservation under? ... I KNEW IT! It's "Beeyotch"!" Another character I loved in that house was the axe-wielding blonde female actor - Lizzie Borden, anyone? She followed me for a good while in my attempts to get back to my room. The nurse in The Bunker's waiting room was delightfully crazy, warning me to be quiet because "Dr. Cutter is on the loose, and he's hungry!" ... then proceeding to screech his name at the top of her lungs. Thanks, you totally helped me avoid him.
I would like to drop an extra special shout to the Underground's roaming cast. In addition to entertaining the line, I noticed they seemed to spread out to assist with reducing gaps in the houses, and it helped tremendously. But that was a double-edged sword, because you never knew where they'd show up! Right off the bat, I had the terrifying Dr. Cutter himself stalk me through Nightmare House, then come out and menace me even more when I reached the Cemetery. Their resident slider, Nom Nom, ranged between helpfully guiding me to my room in the hotel, to finding sneaky spots to pop up and scare me, too. A crazed character with razor sharp teeth trailed me through most of The Bunker - where, in the final exit hallway, I had no less than four actors chasing me down... resulting in me tripping and winding up on the floor. Thankfully, they decided to be nice and let me live to see another day!
If you managed to escape all four haunts, you're in luck - the Dead City Festival waits for you at the exit! This is where you can purchase merch and drinks, or partake in some fun activities for an upcharge. There's quite a bit to do, including two escape rooms, axe throwing, games, and more. Watch your back, though, because characters can still come in here and get you. (Dr. Cutter really had it out for me this night - he followed me in here too! But we made a little truce and took a photo together. He's quite a gentleman when he isn't trying to zap you.)
I've only been a patron for two years, but in that time, Necropolis Underground has quickly grown to become one of my favorite haunts in the Indianapolis scene. Their show is a great value for the price; plan on at least 40 minutes to finish all four houses, and then you've got the midway at the end! And the way they've tied all of the attractions into the haunt's overarching theme is awesome. I had a wonderful visit to Necropolis this season, and if you live nearby and haven't been yet, I encourage you to venture UNDERGROUND and spend a night exploring the Dead City.
ENVIRONMENT: 8/10 - All four houses are well designed and built for immersion. Necropolis is right on the cusp of a '9' in this category; more updates to the houses will help this score.
ACTING: 7/10 - Despite running with a lighter cast, everyone was giving it their best, and roamers worked hard to reduce dead space.
SCARE FACTOR: 9/10 - Yikes... they were out for blood! I barely got a minute's peace!
OVERALL: 9/10 - One of the scariest, and strongest visits to the Dead City I've ever enjoyed. I loved it!