Four large semi-trucks plastered with black and red ink spelling out the words "The Purge Breakout: Can You Survive the Night?" are set up in the middle of the lot in front of Mana Wynwood.
As a clever promotion for the new upcoming film, The Purge: Anarchy, Universal has created this interactive experience for fans to get a taste of what it would be like to live through a night of purging.
We made the sacrifice to undergo the experience for you to make sure it wasn't too scary, because we care about your well-being. Also, because we're masochists.
The semi-trucks are big, but not that big, so group sizes are kept to a maximum of six. When our group was ready, we were assembled and given the general round of instructions:
- This is not a voyeuristic haunted house.
- You will need to get your hands dirty.
- It's a team effort.
- Respect the actors and the actors will respect you.
- If something is nailed, glued, or taped down, don't force it. And most importantly:
- If you have a real emergency, there's a red button in every room.
After we all nodded in agreement, it was time to pass the black doors and get locked inside.
The premise of this breakout experience is that you are trapped inside the house of "Big Daddy" and there are 30 minutes before the annual night of purging begins - in other words, you have 30 minutes to break out of there.
From the moments the doors closed, you are covered in darkness and found trapped inside a tiny, cramped cage. An alarm starts blaring and a voice comes on over the loud speaker announcing the time left before the purge begins.
Immediately, you forget where you are and it's like you have really entered into the world of The Purge, and when that tarp comes down and a girl in tattered clothes starts moaning, survival mode is switched on.
There are various rooms inside Big Daddy's house, and your goal is to navigate through each one and ultimately make it out in less than 30 minutes. As a team you have to search for the clues that will allow you to open the door to the next area. It is dark and tight, so be prepared to feel around the floor and bump into a few things.
Don't worry about getting lost and confused about your next step. The moaning and tattered girl you freed at the beginning acts like your guide, banging the walls and grunting to give your group hints at what you should be doing. Occasionally she'll say words like "door," "code," "go, go, go!" and "hurry" - super encouraging, obviously.
And then there's that government official voice, just like in the films, which comes on to announce how much time you have left before you're a goner. "Twenty minutes until the annual purge commences...15 minutes...ten minutes...five minutes..." and she even has to remind you when you have one minute left.
After lots of teamwork and sticking our hands in ungodly places, our group did not make it out in time. Sadly, we were "purged."
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Warning: the clues are pretty hard to find and solve, so if you're thinking that you are going to be escape in 15 minutes and breeze through the clues, you've got another thing coming, bro. If a group of five (handsomely intelligent) journalists couldn't make it past the third room - well, you're just going to have to experience it for yourself and let us know what's behind door number four.
The Purge: Breakout will be set up all weekend long at the Mana Wynwood parking lot (NW Second Ave. and NW 22nd Lane) until Sunday, June 8. Friday and Saturday experiences begin at 5 p.m., and Sunday starting at 12 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Visit thepurgebreakout.com.