Date of Visit: 10/29/22 Reviewer: Lindsay
Everything has gone well enough so far. It's late October and I'm visiting yet another haunted house. Their helpful staff assisted me in getting parked, and I easily found my way to the ticket booth with a few other groups of excited customers. Nothing is out here to threaten us; no scary people or anything. Following a quick security check with another group, I am starting to feel completely safe. Then we reach the front door... and I don't think any of us were expecting the gigantic freaking reaper that immediately descends on us with a terrible groan, its massive, gnarled hands clawing at our heads. After the initial shock, I can't help but record a bit on my phone, but once it's floating away all I can do is grumble "Really, Edgewood?!"
By the way, if you've never been here before, I can tell you being attacked by a monster three times your size is par for the course at Nightmare On Edgewood, easily one of the craziest haunted houses in the city of Indianapolis.
Looking to experience this madness yourself? Tickets to Nightmare On Edgewood start at $30 for General Admission, or you can upgrade to a Fast Pass for $50 (a bit steep, but worth it on busy nights). Parking is free in their lot on site, but spaces are super limited, so arriving early is recommended. If you happen to arrive later in the night, I believe overflow parking is available elsewhere, and their next door neighbors may also offer parking in exchange for a bit of cash.
You'll notice there's not much going on out front, and honestly, there's not a lot of room. All of the action's waiting for you inside! As you enter, you'll pass through a large room, then either head through the GA entrance to the downstairs queue, or take the Fast Pass entrance that parks you in line right next to the first house. Edgewood's queue has an industrial feel to it I really like, similar to another excellent Indy haunt (Necropolis). Fences divide the upper and lower levels, while popular music plays to get the crowd pumped for the show. Props and scenery are placed here and there. (They love their reapers; the haunt's mascot is one and you'll spot them all throughout the building.) I also like how they placed their concession stand at the end of the GA queue so customers can buy drinks and snacks to ease the wait - smart move! You may encounter the odd roaming character; I had a lovely lady with a taser stick take hold of my jaw and order me to stick out my tongue. Then she asked me to bend over, and well... use your imagination. (Again, this is normal here. You'll get used to it.)
By the way, something important you need to know before visiting is that Nightmare On Edgewood is a FULL CONTACT haunted house. And one that can get pretty wild... if you choose to come here, be prepared for anything! You have been warned!
Nightmare On Edgewood is made up of three attractions. Your adventure begins with CONTAINMENT, which takes place within the school of a town whose water supply was contaminated by a mysterious chemical. Those who didn't die have developed nasty skin boils and violent tendencies - no matter what happens, don't drink a single drop or you'll be next! Breaking out of this makeshift containment facility puts groups on the front porch of an old house, where terrible things are said to have happened to previous residents, including the family of the axe-wielding maniac rumored to live there. Can you make it through without falling victim to CHARLIE'S REVENGE? And if you're lucky enough to escape from Charlie's clutches and into the woods, you'll eventually stumble onto CONLEY FARM, home to Farmer Conley's hillbilly family. Seeking a greater yield of crops and livestock, Farmer Conley secretly experimented with chemicals and pesticides. Unfortunately for his family and farmhands (and you), those had some unexpected effects - turning them all mutated, monstrous, and mad!
Despite being a full contact haunt, the focus at Edgewood is not solely on the physical aspect of their show. Immersion seems to be important to them, and great care is taken to make each attraction feel as real as possible. Upon entering the school, a soldier led me to a makeshift infirmary, where it was eerily quiet and everything was covered with plastic... like it would with a real outbreak. It evoked a heavy feeling that something had gone horribly wrong in this place. As I progressed through locker-lined hallways, multiple classrooms, the gym's showers, and other appropriate scenes, the environment grew more chaotic. Charlie's house was close to a real home, starting with the hazy foyer and branching out into the living room, dining room, hallways covered in portraits, and a child's bedroom. Another feeling arose here; that of being in a place where I didn't belong. The Conleys' immense barn felt genuinely threatening, and physically engaging too: I climbed into a dusty, dingy attic early on, dodged snarling, snapping mutant animals in their stalls, and struggled to survive the slaughterhouse towards the end, complete with livestock corpses swaying by on a conveyor belt! (This part also had my favorite update for 2022: they added an upper floor to the slaughterhouse! You can actually watch other groups being tortured down below. Which is not only fun, but also does an excellent job of instilling dread... because you know you're about to be next.)
Nor does this haunt spare any expense on special effects. Animatronics are everywhere, and well placed to both heighten immersion and catch guests off guard. Floors literally drop from under your feet. They love their actor-matronics, too: I narrowly avoided the massive jaws of a hound hiding in the woods, had a big boar roar at me from its stall, and was almost caught in the teeth of a ginormous gator in the swamp bordering the Conley property! And heads up - there's a good chance you'll leave a little wet.
Above all else, I can't leave out the actors here, because they're among the craziest crew I've encountered in any haunted attraction. A long haired teacher in the school, somehow convinced I was late to class, cornered me against the wall and demanded to know why... then accused me of lying, in that dangerously soft voice that hinted I was in BIG trouble. (Killer use of eye contact from this actor! I felt very chastised.) I also enjoyed my interaction with the art teacher, who curled her arm around my shoulders and commented she'd like to have my nice skin while she applied wet "paint" to my cheek. Despite my best attempts to avoid Charlie, he busted me sneaking through his living room, prompting him to grouse "You know, these boarded up windows only seem to look like welcome signs to you kids!" At first, it seemed like he was going to let me go... but then he reappeared later, this time brandishing an axe, and said he was going to give me a whole three second head start! From that point on, I was genuinely scared to turn the next corner - it really felt like he was hunting me down in there. His family members ranged from trying to trap me in the house, to attempting to slip me out, making the situation feel even more real. And the Conleys were just wild, every single one of them. Momma found me early on, dumped me in a pig trough, then kept reappearing to torment me throughout the barn. (If the actor's reading this, you did say I would remember your face. Yes ma'am!) The good ol' boys working the infamous "castration room" in the slaughterhouse started taunting when they spotted me peering down from above. Once I made it downstairs, the big, long haired one pulled me into a waltz. Aww, how swee-- wait, why are you putting me on that table?! All I could do was writhe and scream as blades of varying sizes were slammed around my head. "Sing for us, songbird!" After they had their fill of picking on me, he scooped me up and carried me for another room or two before I was released. Definitely a memorable (and scary) moment!
Did you survive all three houses? (They certainly don't make it easy, do they?) There's a few more things to enjoy if you stick around. Their merch counter has a large selection of souvenirs, and make sure you check out your group's scare photos! For a small upcharge, you can also purchase tickets to ride the mechanical bull, or try out Shadows Escape, their immersive audio experience. You'll only find the latter here, and I can vouch that it's super cool and well worth five bucks.
Nightmare On Edgewood is one of those haunts that just "does it" for me. Immersion and intensity are two things I look for in a great haunt, and their show strikes a perfect balance, pulling you into their attractions as much as they can while bringing the mayhem they're known for. Something else worth noting is that their haunt is constantly changing, so many of the things you're reading about in this review may be different or removed entirely by next year. If you're anything like I am and prefer haunts that crank up the scares, this one is a must see!
ENVIRONMENT: 9/10 - Fun, upbeat atmosphere in the queue. Every house is also crafted to immerse the guest and make all three environments feel as realistic as possible.
ACTING: 8/10 - Very strong and high energy cast. Actors were spread out well to keep empty spots to a minimum. If I thought I was alone, I usually got a harsh reminder I was not!
SCARE FACTOR: 9/10 - What can I say? These guys kick my behind nearly every time I visit and this year was definitely no exception. I repeat, if you decide to come here... I warned you!
OVERALL: 9/10 - Nightmare On Edgewood consistently delivers that "wow!" experience. They are an absolute must if I'm in the area during haunt season and I can't recommend their show enough.