This past Friday Dread Central co-founder Jon Condit and I hopped a plane to Las Vegas, Nevada for the opening night of Egan Productions’ The Official Saw Escape Experience escape room, and came away in sheer awe of the attraction’s ingenuity, complexity, production design and attention to every possible detail. And what better way to become immersed in a fully realized Saw universe, than to also experience it with series star Tobin Bell? Read on.
Arriving to the location (2121 Industrial Road, a mere mile from Egan’s yearly top-ranked Halloween attraction Fright Dome, held October at Adventure Dome at Circus Circus), we were initially greeted by the facility’s two-story, meticulously art designed slaughter house façade, bearing signage reading Egan & Co. MEAT Finer Brand Meat Products (the exterior itself bears no indication of the blockbuster Lionsgate series in which the escape room’s narrative ultimately unfolds), and secondly by Egan and Bell themselves, who invited us into the first room (of thirteen) which comprise the hour and fifteen minute experience.
Commencing at first innocuously enough as we were ushered into what resembled a butcher store front straight out of the 1950’s, ominous underpinnings soon made themselves apparent via a collection of rather unsettling newspaper articles framed upon the walls documenting the plant’s dubious past, as well as by the three-page waiver we were encouraged to sign. On those heels, Egan screened for us an overly cheerful short film in which he starred as the proprietor of the establishment, encouraging us not to touch his “happy employees,” before being provided by Egan’s staff with Gantom Torches, and with that, we were off into the multi-roomed attraction.
In an effort to keep this article as spoiler free as possible, I’m reticent to reveal the horrors that lie within, but will say that by the time Jigsaw’s iconic voice appeared from above to reveal that we were in fact part of a sick game of his own design, whilst surrounded by carcasses of slaughtered bovine, an unsavory aroma, and A-list studio production design (which runs throughout the entire facility), we knew we were in for something special.
As for the game play itself, as an escape room enthusiast, I’ve yet to encounter anything nearly as jaw-dropping as The Official Saw Escape Experience, or as enjoyably difficult. The mechanics of the puzzles here are complex and visually stimulating, requiring effective communication and a decided sense of mental and physical teamwork in order to unravel and ultimately overcome (of which we failed on three separate occasions). I’d predict, in order to ultimately succeed, that visitors may indeed need to make multiple trips, and given the sheer quality of the attraction, that’s not a bad thing (and with Egan possessing an equal amount of undeveloped square footage within the structure, I’d also expect this game to expand into even more harrowing avenues).
Egan has outdone himself here, and as a result has made Las Vegas a worldwide destination with The Official Saw Escape Experience. It’s a horror fan’s wet dream.