While many people enjoy their Fall season with pumpkin spiced lattes or literally anything with pumpkin in it; we often are drawn towards the spookier offerings during this time of year. Although pumpkin spiced lattes are delicious. Yes, we frequent the typical haunts throughout the year like Halloween Horror Nights, Fright Fest, and Knott’s Scary Farm. All fun in their own merit. But, there is only one event each year that truly captivates us and that is Delusion.
What is Delusion you might ask? Well, Delusion is an interactive play where guests get to “play their part” within a frightfully entertaining narrative that puts you at the center of it all. In 2021, Delusion has returned to its horror roots with Reaper’s Remorse. Their previous outing, The Blue Blade brought a sense of adventure and science fiction to Delusion which hadn’t been done before. But having it back more chilling and scarier than before is really what everyone wanted. And oh boy, does Reaper’s Remorse not pull any punches. Here is the synopsis…
There are some dead that won’t let go. Clutching to this world by whatever threads they can find.Pretty red shoes. A shotgun. A loved one left behind. And although these strands of life can be as innocent as a child’s toy… everything has its price. A price only Esther Phillips can afford. She lives alone. A solemn collector surrounded by artifacts that not only telltales but carry the very souls they’re tied to. An ethereal prison of those unwilling to let go.Esther’s latest acquisition may be her greatest yet… if she would only go near. Fear, anger and regret bleed from it. Things decay, but memories can linger. A rare invitation has been extended to you, fellow lovers of the occult. An exclusive evening to play your part in the haunting and epic story of Esther Phillips.There are some dead that won’t let go. And there are others that must make them.
Reaper’s Remorse feels like a fun twist on the traditional ghost story, but with all the fun theatrics only Delusion can accomplish. A lot of this is made possible by the location of this years event, the old Phillips Mansion in Pomona. Imposing, haunting, and above all else…gorgeous! The Phillips Mansion is the perfect backdrop to this years story and is truly a character upon itself. Walking it’s halls and wandering the grounds of the mansion; there’s a slight mystery to the home that adds to the overall experience of Delusion. Jon and his crew are masters at picking the perfect location to fit their needs with every story, and Reaper’s Remorse is no exception.
This year, with the “open world” aspect of the event; guests are welcomed to explore, eat, and drink before or after their time slot. You may be sipping on a beer while having some food; but the mansion is always looming in the background. A constant reminder of what’s to come. Speaking of which, the food at Delusion is absolutely phenomenal! We tried four different food offerings and found all of them to be above our expectation. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect for food but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting food to be that damn good. We had the Bruschetta Flatbread and the Crimson Queen Bites first, before the show. Then after the show, we shared Delusional Flatbread and Elena’s Cocktail while discussing our thoughts and theories. If you’re planning on attending Delusion this year, do make time to eat and drink because it really does make for an amazing night out with someone special or your friends.
Additionally, for the “open world” aspect of the event, you can explore the inside of the mansion and find clues to the story that will soon unfold. We spent a massive amount of time wandering around, opening drawers and focusing on details. Scattered throughout the house, you’ll find dated letters describing specific moments in Ester Phillips life involving other people. I don’t want to go too much into detail about it because the twist and turns of the story are very entertaining. Just make sure you allocate time for some exploring…and also…make sure to check under the house.
We were lucky enough to obtain access to the second floor VIP experience for Delusion this year. Upstairs you’ll find an exclusive bar and even more letters that will add to the story. Inside the bar, you’ll find a magician who was invited to the house by Ester to entertain her guests. So while having a drink, be mystified by a very talented and handsome magician. Not only that, but you have access to Ester Phillips’ Private Collection. This intimate experience is really a teaser and taste of the story and we loved it. In our group, we had a woman who’d never been to Delusion before and this small experience gave her a taste of what Delusion is all about. It was a perfect primer for the rest of the night, but little did we know that the night was about to get way scarier than anything inside this small experience. Honestly, small touches like the magician and added experience of the Private Collection add so much value to an up-charged experience. If not communicated by the staff, it is easy to miss. If you have VIP, make sure to pay close attention to the door to the right at the top of the stairs.
Onto the main show! We will try our best to talk about the show, but it’s incredibly difficult without spoiling it. In fact, stay tuned because we will have a SPOILER FILLED episode of the podcast. Breaking down all the jaw dropping moments. As mentioned previously, Delusion has gone back to its horror roots with Reaper’s Remorse and it shows in each and every moment. Not only is it scary, but it lingers with you. In the days following the show, we’ve found ourselves talking about specific moments and continue to get goosebumps. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at the shadows in my house a bit differently now. And I think that’s part of the brilliance of Delusion, it’s themes and subject matter (particularly this year) are rooted in fears humans have naturally. Fear of the dark and fear of the unknown, but you find out what lurks within the shadows and it can be truly horrifying. Reaper’s Remorse has so many different layers of scares that I’m almost certain there is something within the experience to send shivers down the spines’ of even the bravest of people. Delusion lures guests in with an enthralling story and pulls the rug out from underneath them with each scare. Building upon each one as the story progresses and gets very intense.
As for the story, it’s compelling and really starts off strong. The way Jon is able to create a sense of urgency from the start is really smart. Additionally, the cast of actors are some of the best we’ve encountered at Delusion. Continuously in character while engaging everyone in our group. We were very impressed! Reaper’s Remorse is a traditional ghost story in many ways, but with an edge and many twists. At certain points in the story, we found it slightly hard to follow. Not that the dialogue was confusing or we didn’t understand our task; but because of our initial objective and how the story strays from it. I don’t think this is an inherently bad thing and nor did it take us out of the moment. Just something we realized after our experience. In fact, it made for great conversation over drinks after our experience. Debating on what we thought nuanced moments meant in the grand scheme of the story.
Overall, Jon Braver and Delusion have created an incredibly terrifying spectacle for guests this year with Reaper’s Remorse. Filled from top to bottom with iconic moments, Reaper’s Remorse grabs hold and doesn’t let go! With phenomenal sound design, writing, stunts, special effects, and acting; Reaper’s Remorse has quickly gone to the top of our list of favorite Delusion shows. We highly recommend people check out Delusion because it’s so unique and different than anything else offered in SoCal. And with Reaper’s Remorse, they’ve once again solidified themselves as the vanguard in interactive horror theater! If you want to “play your part” in a Delusion show, make sure to snag your tickets because they sell out and go fast!