I Survived Universal Studios’ The Last Of Us Haunted House
Daddy Pedro, where are you??
The battle between Halloween Horror Nights 2023 experiences rages on, with Hollywood currently taking the lead over Orlando in most categories like food, drinks, and wait times. While the latter surpasses the California theme park in its haunted house offerings in both quantity and overall quality, both of Universal Studios’ The Last of Us attractions will keep fans of the video game and Max series
screaming their heads off on their toes. I should know — I am one of the survivors of The Last of Us haunted house. (Pedro Pascal, where were you when I needed you?)
Just like the HHN 32’s Stranger Things house, which takes fans through Season 4 of the Netflix phenomenon, the first-ever Last of Us haunted house is full of moments that every member of the fandom could appreciate, especially since it focuses on the two protaganists’ journey. “There's a beginning, middle, and end with Joel and Ellie because Joel and Ellie are the heart of this franchise,” Neil Druckmann, who created The Last of Us video game and TV series, said in an interview with Collider about the Universal attraction. “This is the part where they really are relying on each other and working together.”
Video game fanatics, in particular, will be pleased to learn that the voice actors for Joel and Ellie (Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, respectively) made a special return for the live-action adaptation. “They did custom dialogue and voiceover for us specifically for the house,” Halloween Horror Nights creative director John Murdy told Screen Rant. “So our performers will be lip-syncing to track.”
There are also plenty of hidden details that are easy to miss if you don’t take in each room from top to bottom — like the key card from the hotel basement, which even the creator said he didn’t see until The Last of Us’ lead artist pointed it out. According to Druckmann, his team applied the same mentality to the game as they did the Universal attraction. “Let’s put more details that anybody will notice because that’s when we know we can catch everyone,” he told Collider. “As soon as you leave some details out [...] then you give players — or, in this case, the guests — an excuse to leave their experience and not be as immersed.”
As someone who’s more knowledgeable of the show than the game, I still firmly stand by the experience being one of the better haunted houses this year. While it didn’t give me as many jump scares as, say, Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins (SO. MANY. CLOWNS.), the details of the Clickers, the Bloaters (pictured above, blech), and the post-apocalyptic world itself were spine-tingling and vom-worthy enough for even the most fair-weather fan. Though I could do without ever seeing another batch of cordyceps in my life, the iconic sniper scene at the end reminded me why The Last of Us Season 2 will be a must-watch.