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Arts and Entertainment

Review: The Unrivaled King Of Haunted Houses In Los Angeles

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By Abel HorwitzFor its fourth season, "Delusion: Lies Within" sneaks you into a haunted mansion, and, as in previous years, the story unfolds in front of you through an outstanding mix of set design, theatrical effects, acting and stunt work that tells a terrifying story. There are many haunted attractions vying for your attention right now, but "Delusion" sets the high water mark.

The story this time around is that a famous author has become a recluse in her home after the mysterious disappearance of her daughter. You and the rest of the audience are some of her biggest fans and you have broken into her home to seek her out and try to learn of her next book.

But this, after all, is a haunted play, and the author in question wasn't exactly writing children's books.

The scares in “Delusion” take on almost a surreal quality. To spoil the scares would defeat the purpose of the show, but there are enough frightening moments inside of the house that you start to wonder if this house isn't a little bit haunted in real life. The house, it seems, has a pulse.

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Like all projects steeped in horror, "Delusion" isn't for everyone. You're required to crawl through windows, climb stairs and evade the terrors chasing behind you. Comfortable clothing and sensible shoes are a must. And this one's scary. Not blood and gore scary (writer/director Jon Braver and co-writer Peter Cameron despise it), but you will be startled. A lot.

Alongside the actors, the visual and audio effects propel the story forward. Rooms appear one way when you first walk into them, then transform into something entirely different as the story unfolds. The entire production has music composed just for it, and the actors time their performances to the audio clues. All of this makes "Delusion" feel like a well-made horror film.

There is a "choose your own adventure" element to the show, and while fortune favors the bold, those who volunteer for anything the audience is asked to do might find themselves experiencing a different show than those who don't. Sometimes you won't have a choice, and the actors will choose the participant.

After three years of outstanding shows it was no surprise that this year’s event sold out immediately after tickets went on sale. That being said, if (and when) an extension is announced, it is highly recommended you get your tickets as soon as possible.

The talent and creative team behind "Delusion" will be quick to point out that they are not a haunted house, they are a haunted play. The price point, at $60, reflects this. And while you can certainly spend an evening at Halloween Horror Nights for the same price, you will be getting an entirely different experience. The world "Delusion" creates is on another level than an amusement park maze.

The show is beautiful: well-crafted, well-acted, well-directed and well-produced. In the diverse and varied landscape of Halloween shows in Los Angeles, "Delusion" is the crown jewel.

You have been warned.

Delusion "Lies Within" is located at 2525 Arlington Ave. in Jefferson Park. Runs through November 2 on select nights. Sold Out, with the possibility of extension. Tickets are $60.

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