For so long the general population have been consumed by their various distractions — phones, social media, selfies, apps, etc. — and Tension is the reset button, society so desperately needs to push.
There are no spoilers in here to worry about, since the best part of this experience is the mystery that it lies swaddled in. If anything, I hope that this article serves as a blaring example of how important this experience is. With the world constantly trying to find ways to become a part of the action, so to speak, Tension gives you exactly what you want and changes you in the process. Instead of worrying about documenting the events — firing up your phone to take the best picture — you’re too busy dealing with all five of your senses, collectively, tripping out. It’s the closest thing to having a hallucinogenic experience without actually consuming a drug. Like I was told inside, “The OOA realizes that it takes extreme challenges to open those doors inside your brain… The OOA likes to be the ones to rush inside those doors, once they’re open…” And rush they did…
Originally, when I heard about the Tension Experience, several months prior to the launch of Ascension, all that existed was a website. A website where you left your number, thus beginning a crazy, terror filled trip down the rabbit hole— an alternative reality. Participants, or initiates, were called and given a time, date, and advised to meet at an eerie warehouse — where an intense interrogation would take place. After hearing about the immersive nature of this experience, I do have to admit… I was terrified. The idea of possibly being followed, or stalked, frightened me. I was extremely dismissive in my initial impressions of the event, and just stuck with my Halloween Horror Nights, and Knott’s Scary Farm. But, after hearing some amazing feedback from fellow journalists, and how it changed their perspective, my interest was peaked. October 27th 2016 was the night. We were instructed to leave all valuables behind, including the thing that connects/consumes us all… the cell phone. The one thing that binds us freelancers to the world that employs us, and promotes us, was advised to be left behind. Heck, until the event night I hadn’t realized that my cell phone is my sole instrument for telling the time; and not knowing how much time had passed kicked the anxiety into high gear. For the entire 2 hour experience we were to live in the moment. Experience life with all our senses, and rely upon them fully. The moment you park your car, you’re engulfed in the atmosphere and the feeling that would follow you throughout my time with the OOA… fear. For the first time, in what seems forever, I was afraid. After years of watching horror flicks, going to
various Haunts, and immersive experiences… I was afraid. Something I actively searched for every year, was flowing freely within me in those initial moments. I was hooked. I was placed in the middle of my very own horror film. I absorbed every moment and breathed through every step. As much as I wanted to be active within the story, my mind was too busy being blown away. The production design — which was done remarkably by Derrick Hinman — is meticulous and instantly adapts its initiates into the world we’ve volunteered ourselves to be in. As creepy, or as sensual, or terrifying as it got, I was mesmerized. The visuals were hypnotic, and the atmosphere was palpable. At times I was asked to rely upon only one of my senses, all of them or none of them. Sometimes I was just simply asked to be. To just exist in the moment. I committed fully to this world and what I got in return was far more than the price of admission.
The ideas and the message that Tension is trying to push, has nothing to do with scaring you, but everything to do with waking you up. Instead of living with your deepest darkest secrets, you proclaim them, and release yourself of them.. Instead of relying on likes from Facebook, you focus on time and how important each moment is — regardless of who likes your status. Because director Darren Lynn Bousman — who has worked on such flicks as SAW IV, REPO THE GENETIC OPERA, and the most recent ABATTOIR — paid such great attention to the details of this immersive experience, and how it would be personal to each individual, it makes this one of the year’s most important events to attend. Walking into each one of the rooms aroused fears within me, I didn’t even know existed, but I faced them — in some cases alone. I experienced true fear by facing my own demons and being forced to deal with them head on. Because of this, there was no moment more fulfilling than the drive back home that night. Even till this day I find myself going over the images in my head and contemplating what it means to me. After taking a couple of days to think about it I can safely say, it means a second trip — in more than one way. Because Tension is personally designed, and based within each of our individual fears, each visit promises a deeper, darker descent into the Tension Experience.
After experiencing horror like this, It’s safe to assume that this is the future of horror entertainment. This is the fresh blood that the horror community, so desperately seeks, year in and year out. It jolts you into reality by forcing you to exist in theirs… even if it is just a couple of hours. I’m keeping the details very sparse in hopes that all you who read this article will go out there and support this psychological revelation! To Experience this event for yourself, visit the site HERE, and begin the first step to Ascension. Some things to keep in mind: Make sure you dress comfortably, prepare to have your limits pushed, and maintain an open mind. The only way this works is if you’re willing to embark upon this journey; fully. Tickets are $125, but are worth every penny. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Halloween or to keep the dark days alive, since it has dates running through November 13th — but be sure to get your tickets quick, since they tend to sell out.
Overall, Congratulations are in order to Darren Lynn Bousman, Co-Writer Clint Sears, Producer Gordon Bijelonic, and Production Designer Derrick Hinman, for not only creating a unique experience, but an extremely thought provoking, disturbing, and life-changing event. The only thing as intense as the two hours I shared with The Tension Experience on site, was the amount of thinking I did in the days to follow. Thank you OOA, and Glory Be!