Delusion: Reaper’s Remorse Is a Frightening Horror Theatre Experience

Credit: Delusion

We were invited to a soiree at the Phillips Mansion in Pomona, California, a Second Empire-style historic house that was built by Louis Phillips, who became the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County in the late 1800s. Our host for the evening was Esther Phillips, Louis’ wife, and she hasn’t had guests in a while. It was a strange invite, but we were curious as to the nature of the event and had many questions. Esther has become a collector of sorts, and over the years, she has acquired artifacts. An evening party quickly turned into a scary adventure where we tried to help out lost spirits and fend off vengeful ghosts inside a haunted house.

Welcome to Reaper’s Remorse, the latest show from Jon Braver’s Delusion, the interactive horror theatre where guests get to play their part in a horror story filled with elaborate sets and unsettling actors. Delusion has been bringing immersive theater experiences to those in the Los Angeles area, and throughout the years, guests were part of stories involving time travel, vampires, ghosts, and cults. This year, we enter the world of spirits with Reaper’s Remorse, a terrifying and engrossing show that has surprised us at every turn.

Credit: Hanae Cajigas/Nerd Reactor

Delusion is known for its horror shows, and the last time Delusionals had a taste of that was with His Crimson Queen back in 2016. After a few years of dabbling in the adventure genre like 2019’s Alt Delete and 2018’s The Blue Blade, it’s finally time to return to its horror roots with Reaper’s Remorse. Loosely inspired by history, Braver put his own stamp on Esther Phillips and her story, and the location at Phillips Mansion is one huge playground. This is the most ambitious Delusion yet since it expands outside of the show including a VIP experience on the second floor.

Pre-Show Open World

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Louis is the prominent figure in Los Angeles history, but in Reaper’s Remorse, Esther gets to shine. During the pre-show, guests can dive deeper into the lore of Mrs. Phillips with items sprinkled throughout the mansion. Rooms all around contain notes and hidden messages, and you can find them on tables, shelves, etc. As you read her journals, you’ll start to get a better understanding of her fascination for the otherworldly things and how it’s affecting her state of being. If you listen closely, you may even hear a recording in one of the rooms that adds depth to the story.

Cellar

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The cellar is another part of the open-world pre-show. There is something that lies underneath, and those without fear will be able to explore what’s inside. This adds another layer to the world of Reaper’s Remorse, making it feel like a full world that builds on the dark secrets behind Esther Phillips.

Reaper’s Rations

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This doesn’t connect to the lore, but it’s great for those wanting more time to explore the world of Delusion: Reaper’s Remorse without having to leave the area. Now you can get food, snacks and beverages on location, all within walking distance. Items include shrimp cocktail, charcuterie plates, Crimson Queen Bites, bruschetta flatbread, Delusional flatbread, vegan tacos, beer, wine, etc. If you want cocktails, there are bars located inside the Phillips Mansion.

VIP Experience

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The VIP experience will cost you an extra $30, but it will grant you access to the second floor. It includes a Dark Arts Private Bar & Lounge and a mini-experience that further expands on the story of Delusion: Reaper’s Remorse. There’s also a resident who will entertain the guests while giving some insight into how people view Esther. (More like what he really thinks of her.)

The door to the right of the stairs is an entrance to the mini-interactive show, and guests can enter once the “Enter” light shines bright. It’s an eery experience that features more collections, each highlighted and accompanied by a ghostly voice. The walkthrough ends with a surprise that details the history of the Phillips Mansion and a revelation that involves someone in Esther’s life.

What’s neat about the VIP experience is that you can visit it before and/or after the show. If you’re going before the show, make sure you have enough time to come downstairs for your appointed time. If you want, you can take your time by going after, that’s if your show isn’t one of the last of the night.

Reaper’s Remorse

Credit: Delusion

The VIP Experience and the pre-show exploration all help to enhance the main show. The hour and a half experience will take you into a world filled with danger and ghastly beings. It starts off with the soiree where you and other guests are invited to relax and sit down. Esther is the host of the night, and she gives the attendees the info on why they’re there. It turns out that she has acquired an artifact of immense power. Lucky us that we’re the ones to help her wield it. Once we have been informed of our duties, we are directed outside of the room. This is where a servant shows us where we need to go.

What happens soon after is very surprising and left us in awe. You have to see it for yourself, and the less you know, the better your experience will be. We do get to meet other members of the Phillips family and guests who have been there before us. They each have their own reasons for being there. Once our adventure truly begins, the momentum really picks up. This has us moving around, hiding, and meeting all types of characters.

The Next Level

Credit: Delusion

We had a group of 12 with us. What makes Delusion really stand out is that it feels like an intimate show where we were the only ones there, even though there are others going at different times. This is completely different from the typical Halloween mazes at amusement parks and other local haunts. Those aren’t as scary because you’re surrounded by lots of people, plus you’re moving along like a conveyor belt.

The Delusion team has stepped it up with technology, and there are some cool visual effects that really elevate the experience. Of course, we’re fans of practical effects, and there are plenty that really makes you feel like you’re in a horror movie. This includes seeing an actual creature effect and witnessing something supernatural. There is plenty of action, and these range from handling weapons (don’t worry, it’s fake) and retrieving items to fleeing and hiding. Braver and his team have used all types of tricks to really make the experience fun and creepy.

Credit: Delusion

Even with a group of 12, there will be moments where a smaller group will branch off from the main group. This makes some of the experiences truly unique. There were times where one person was plucked out and disappeared for a short bit. Other times the group had to separate altogether to progress the story.

As a live show involving a lot of moving parts, actors, and guests, things can go off-script. For example, a certain object isn’t won’t function or a prop goes missing. In our show, the actors and team were able to think fast and provide a smooth experience, even when things don’t go according to plan.

Credit: Nerd Reactor

Final Reaction

Delusion is back with a vengeance, and it’s why we love interactive horror theatre. Returning to its horror roots, Reaper’s Remorse is frightening and engaging. As guests, we all get to play a part. The actors have all done a wonderful job of moving the story along, even when things go off-script. The sets and special effects are elaborate, and they truly encapsulate you into the world. This platform is the next level of entertainment, and Delusion continues to be one of the best in town.

Delusion: Reaper’s Remorse tickets are available at https://enterdelusion.com/step-1/ with shows happening now until Sunday, November 21, 2021.

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