This new zombie-themed escape room in Ventura is part haunted attraction, part scavenger hunt.
If you’re a bon-a-fide Halloween Haunt enthusiast like me, October 2017 seems dreadfully far away. But if you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California, there are a variety of hauntingly creepy events happening in the region on a monthly (if not weekly) basis to help you escape your Halloween blues.
Case in point is DEADZONE 805-OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE. Dubbed as a year -round “Interactive Zombie Adventure,” this new escape room/scavenger hunt just opened its doors to the public with hopes of attracting the seemingly ever-growing escape room fan base.
DEADZONE 805’s “OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE” is an offshoot of Nelson Cooper’s well-regarded Halloween-time haunted attraction, simply called DEADZONE 805. While the popular Halloween haunt has always incorporated interactive elements from its inception back in 2013, the 2016 haunt added the beginnings of what could be considered an escape room. But, as the new subtitle, “OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE” infers, this is not the DEAD ZONE 805 haunted attraction (which will return at Halloween) but is instead its own escape room-type experience, open now through the summer.
After a brief introduction to the world of the Zombie Apocalypse, you find that a stranger in your group has been bitten and it’s up to you to find the cure, along with a handful of other items you’ll need if you want to escape alive within the allotted 40 minutes.
Smartly reusing the sets from the haunted attraction, OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE has a slightly more expansive and immersive feel than most escape rooms since you’re allowed to roam freely between multiple sets while trying to track down clues. While running from room to room, just be aware that you might not be alone as you think. There are definitely some surprises a long the way to enhance the tension and dread.
The puzzles are solid, but not overly challenging, which is fine since the 40 minute time limit feels on the short side in comparison to most other escape rooms. The experience is designed for up to 6 people, but we found that with space constraints, 4 or 5 would probably be an ideal group size. While my group did “search” and “survive,” it was clear that Nelson is still fine-tuning certain elements of the game. That said, DEAD ZONE 805-OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE is a solid entry in the escape room market place and I can’t wait to see where they go with it. The set design is suitably creepy and the fun quota is pretty high for this fledging attraction. If you find yourself craving an escape room with some haunted attraction flair, DEAD ZONE 805 is a “brain teaser” that’s right up your alley.
DEAD ZONE 805-OPERATION: SEARCH AND SURVIVE
2889 Bunsen Ave unit D, Ventura Ca 93003
Runs Year Round on Fridays and Saturday!