There’s a cabin in the woods with a legend of the supernatural. Long abandoned, there have been strange sightings and many people have disappeared, as reported in the news over the years, never to return. You should NOT enter! The question is… can you escape parts 2 and 3 of the Crowley Manor story? There’s lots of puzzles to solve before you can.
Completion Time: ~90 minutes
Date Played: 14th May 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Playing by anyone late at night with all the lights off
I don’t like horror… Ohhhh no no no no no. But a horror escape room via Zoom? Yeah I was willing to give it a go. I mean if you’re sitting behind a screen it’s hard to be too scared. Right? Right?! Hahah, I kid! But seriously this was brilliantly terrifying and I had a lot of fun, despite my fears. Emergency Exit gets a lot of good reviews and has even won awards for it’s Exorcism (the prequel) and The Beast (this one) games and it’s very easy to see why.
I took on The Beast with team Escaping the Closet on a spooky (well as spooky as you can get in May) Friday evening with all the curtains drawn, my lights turned to ‘red’, and most importantly – home alone. Which I made the mistake of saying early on into the game, followed later on by this conversation:
Host: It’s a good job you’ve got people there with you Mairi
Me: No, I’m home alone
Host: Wait what, who’s that behind you then?
…Sharply moving on from that! Let’s get into the review:
We did not play Exorcism before taking on The Beast, so I’ll have to admit there was a bit of plot that was lost on me. The Beast picks up exactly where Exorcism leaves off after your camera man Liam was taken by… Well, something sinister and awful I’ve no doubt. The host decides he’s got to go back into the room and try and rescue Liam, but it quickly goes very south from there.
The whole vibe reminded me a little bit of “Britain’s Most Haunted”, but this time we’re not taking on ghosts, we’re taking on evil demonic spirits. The setting: Crowley Manor. There were a lot of references to the dearly departed residents of of the manor, such as Alice (who shared a name with one of our team!). As we skipped Exorcist, I feel like I didn’t fully follow the first half plot… That or I was too busy hiding behind a pillow!
As you work your way throughout the escape room you’ll go from the main room into a creepy cabin out back and from here the plot takes an even creepier twist. I don’t want to spoil it as it’s twisty and packed with “woah!” moments that are integral to the characters, the house and the history, but rest assured it’s a great room if you love narrative.
In terms of theming, The Beast absolutely shines! There are two ‘areas’ to explore which are built around two of the real life escape rooms at Emergency Exit. They’ve got absolutely everything you want from a creepy house with an even creepier cabin. Everything I say? Yes! Even a cursed doll. Literally. It’s cursed. I thought the lock was part of the puzzle but no it’s locked in there with a Bible to keep people away.
The first location is cold and grimy with centuries old cots, cabinets and creepy children’s toys scattered everywhere. Much of the room has been defaced with paint.. Or is that blood? Anything you give you a double take and send shivers up the spine.
The second location is slightly cosier, as candlelit cabins are but that’s no consolation when the poor host has to crawl into small spaces and uncover creepy Satanic objects.
In both rooms there are a good deal of really impressive special effects that add to the mystery. Again, I do not wish to spoil anything, but this game utilises things that I never thought I’d see an escape room do and I am impressed!
The hosting of this room also get’s it’s own separate section as I can’t help but mention how brilliant our two hosts were – Liam (the camera man) and Ronnie (the host in front of us)! The camera man’s control of the room was absolutely brilliant. I know some people are concerned about motion sickness but there’s none of that in this room, everything was smooth to a T. Most of the time you’re chatting to Ronnie but at one part you’ll ‘control’ Liam instead and the transition was as seamless as it was fun.
Ronnie on the other hand brought the whole thing to life with his character and personality. He felt like an extension of our own team, interacting with us in a real and humorous way. We’d have to coax him into unlocking certain things and heck, it makes sense, this room is terrifying! I wouldn’t want to reach into that creepy dark place and pull out God knows what either!
Together the two host team worked super well and is the absolute icing on the cake of this already brilliant experience.
Players can expect a more or less non-linear flow of puzzles but a linear progression through the story to reach the ending… Which is a confusing way for me to explain that there is a lot to do and I think we did it in a fairly random order but still made it to the end!
The first part is a bit of ‘searching and finding’. Your host finds himself locked in and you’ve gotta first guide him to finding everything in the room that might come in use. Just watch out for the horrifying creepy dolls.
As with all good Demon themed rooms- I’m kidding, this is my first because I’m a scaredy cat- the second area features plenty of supernatural puzzles! It was a delight to see things like candles, ouija boards, haunted dolls and tarot cards all playing a strong role in the puzzle solving! I also really personally enjoyed the puzzles that involved solving ciphers. Give me some cool demon language any day!
A quick note on the tech, The Beast is played entirely in Zoom. This means everything you need is right in front of you – no inventory system, no point and click to get a closer look. This works really well for this room as it means you need never break immersion. In particular, the hosts can capture and hold your attention for some very well timed jump scares and seamless video transitions!
This game was brilliant and absolutely lives up to the hype. From about 3pm on Friday all the way until our 8pm booking I was working myself up into a frenzy – “What if it’s too scary?! Should I skip dinner?“, but despite my worries there was no way to prepare for the thoroughly creepy and immersive experience that it was.
It’s also worth noting that the experience can be scaled up or down in scariness – to a certain extent! If you chose to play this with kids, the hosts ‘read the room’ and don’t go too dark. A team of 20 something year olds they went all out though and I screamed my apartment down at least twice. But you know what, despite my aversion to horror, I had an amazingly fun time.
My only regret? Not playing The Exorcist first! But rest assured, we’ve got that one booked soon.
Oh I also regret that we sacrificed Tasha’s soul to the devil but I’m sure she’ll be ok.
The Beast can be booked for £100 per team on Emergency Exit’s website here.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and writes about news, and reviews covering London and UK south.