First appearing at Sheffield’s National Emergency Services Museum in 2014, and going on to pick up a SCAR award for best original concept/design, EVAC made a fleeting return to the museum for two nights only in October 2019 (after some ‘strange occurrences’ were caught on the museum’s CCTV). We went along to see whether we could be of any assistance in ridding Sheffield of the mysterious ‘shapeshifters’. As it turned out, I wasn’t much help at all.
We received our initial briefing inside an ambulance, and I thought this was an amazing touch. What a unique setting for a scare attraction intro! This also added to the sense of imminent danger and emergency, and thus, set the tone impeccably. It wasn’t long before we were sent off into the darkness to begin our mission: to retrieve the serum and banish the creatures.
As we made our way through the venue, I realised just how much it has to offer an event like this. This wasn’t the first scare attraction to take place inside the museum – let’s not forget Caine in 2014 – but for me, EVAC made greater use of the the rooms and had a concept better suited to the venue’s aesthetic. The exhibits looked so eerie in the darkness – especially the vehicles – and we loved the ‘after hours museum’ creepiness. Motionless mannequins cast shadows across empty rooms, and our screams echoed through dark, deserted hallways. Powerful stuff.
The scareactors all did an amazing job. Some took their time with us, some landed impact scares then disappeared back into the shadows. Some defied gravity, others lurked down low. It was a really good mix. A standout scare occurred in the room where we were supposed to look for a dustpan; it came from the front, and as effective as it was, I’d have loved to see an additional scare come from a different direction in this room (perhaps from behind us).
We enjoyed the finale of this attraction very much, but we did have one slight niggle. As the scareactors gradually closed in on us, we found ourselves assembled in a narrow hallway, unable to move forwards or backwards, and in close proximity to an open cell door (the inside of which was too dark to see). A sudden moment of total darkness signalled to me that one final impact scare was about to to happen. After all, we were like fish in a barrel, and there was great tension building. However, this moment gave way to a more theatrical conclusion. We still very much enjoyed this, but I felt the components of this final scene had shifted my expectations in a different direction.
Overall, we loved this attraction’s combination of hands-on tasks and walk-through spooks, and I hope we’ll all reassemble in the future should the shapeshifters reappear, as was alluded to in the final scene…