By Juan Avila
It looks like a regular warehouse on Foothill Boulevard, but on the inside The Basement in quiet Sylmar is a high-end, immersive escape room with one way in and one way out.
“We chose the location in Sylmar because of how it makes you feel,” said Kayden Ressel, creator of The Basement. “We wanted to find a place that was a little out of the way so that when you showed up, you arrived with a slight feel of unease.”
Guests wait outside the warehouse, where they sign a liability waiver before being led by an employee into a waiting room where they watch an instructional video and listen to a safety speech.
Participants are then instructed to place black cloth bags over their heads as if they are being kidnapped and are dragged by an unseen hand into the basement of cannibalistic killer, Edward Tandy.
Clues and keys are found by solving cryptic puzzles scattered throughout the room. This is the only way to reach an escape, adding difficulty to the experience.
There are different versions of the puzzles to add variety to the room, including a “third hybridized version, that we call the MVP version,” said general manager, Lindy Randall.
“We throw in a couple twists, a couple puzzles that are definitely more difficult than the others.”
But finding the clues is only part of the experience.
There are startling sounds, lights, and actors in the room distract and confuse victims.
The activity requires full focus and communication between participants. Teamwork is key to the group’s survival.
The Basement is the original of three escape rooms following a narrative around a cannibalistic serial killer who captures and toys with his victims before devouring them.
The story central to the escape rooms is what makes the experience stimulating to the senses.
“We spend a great deal of time and effort making sure that the clues and items in the room relate directly to the story as to why you’re trapped in there,” Kessler said.
The Basement presents a new form of audience immersing entertainment.
The attraction is open year-round and ticket prices and people per group vary by room.
For more information visit thebasementla.com.