The USS Nightmare is not your traditional haunted house. It is immersive storytelling on a boat. It’s located just outside of Cincinnati hidden on the river. (We did not see any signs for the event until we’d found it.)
My husband and I opted for the RIP experience, therefore we had additional scenes and a more hands-on experience than the standard ticketed guest. I highly recommend doing RIP. We were given a flashing necklace and were directed to a special queue line. We were our own group to start, however about halfway through the attraction the actors put us together with a larger group of teenage girls.
The story is basically that the boat had a terrible accident and those aboard are lost spirits. I really enjoyed the way in which characters would introduce us to future characters through story and requesting we complete certain tasks when we meet them. It was fun anticipating what the Captain and Ana would be like based on the little info we had received. We did our best to complete tasks such as asking the clown a question, giving an object to Ana, however we realized after we left that we completely forgot to tell the captain something we were supposed to. It makes me wonder if that would’ve given us a different experience or made no difference at all. We did notice we were covered in clown weave by the time we finished and not sure if that was something we did or random.
The path was interesting starting with an intense elevator ride and taking us throughout the boat. I loved the use of maze elements. I found the repetition fun throughout the walk and felt it must represent being stuck in a loop as some hauntings appear to be. The decor on the boat was good. The props and effects were well suited for the story for the most part. The make-up and costumes were fine. There were a few really fun effects, that although I’ve seen them used in other haunts, still caught me off guard since I didn’t expect to see them on a boat.
The actors worked very hard to give a great performance. Some were more gifted than others when it came to interaction and improvisation, but they all seemed to know their characters well. I found the clown with the large weapon to be just incredible, as well as the actor at the beginning and the elevator operator. Some of the characters had to interact with the audience more than others, such as getting us to eat and drink things or reach into buckets to fish out objects with our hands. They did a great job as a cast.
Overall USS Nightmare is a fun immersive theatre piece. I wouldn’t call it a standard walkthrough haunted house if you upgrade to the RIP Experience, I can’t speak to general admission.