Theatre review: Murder at Old Changi Hospital takes escape room thrills to new heights this Halloween

PHOTO: Sight Lines Entertainment

This spooky season, the folks behind the acclaimed Zoom production Murder at Mandai Camp: A Supernatural Murder Mystery and Asia's first virtual horror-mystery escape room Murder at Mandai Camp: The Case Reopens are back with a bang.

With Murder at Old Changi Hospital, Sight Lines Entertainment is elevating escape room experiences to a whole new level of hair-raising this Halloween.

Post-pandemic, Sight Lines Entertainment has made a name for taking murder mysteries online with immersive 360° views and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay.

While Murder at Old Changi Hospital offers purely virtual options, thrill-seekers can choose to up the fear factor with a Secret Agent VIP Experience.

This experience blends virtual gameplay with a real-life escape room in a secret location, offering two and a half hours of mind-boggling puzzles and spine-chilling scares.

Talk about the ultimate Halloween weekend.

PHOTO: Sight Lines Entertainment

The most powerful element in any horror-thriller experience is the narrative, and Murder At Old Changi Hospital knows how to weave an intriguing one.

The game is well-grounded in the heart-wrenching tale of the alleged murder of a young canteen worker, Farah Aiyah (Munah Bagharib), inside the hospital back in 1996.

The death of this 19-year-old girl caused a stir. But tensions truly peaked when four Commandos (Joshua Lim, Jon Cancio, Andre Chong and Wayne Lim) associated with her went missing.

Now, nearly 25 years later, distant cries continue to haunt the abandoned hospital, spurring paranormal investigator Tom (Bright Ong) to reopen the cold case.

As his fellow investigators, we're roped in to help him solve the chilling mystery.

PHOTO: Sight Lines Entertainment

Embarking on the Secret Agent VIP Experience, we started out fumbling around in Tom's shadowy office space with only a dim torch at hand.

The deafening silence of the room amplified every little creak; throw in mutilated limbs, strange astrology texts, and walls plastered with symbols, and we found ourselves on constant edge.

Eventually, we summoned up enough courage to rummage through the least likely spots for clues, codes, and more.

Several tarot cards, astronomy books, a suitcase and a treasure box led us to the computer with the evidence database.

The final step in zeroing in on Farah's killer, we thought. We thought.

PHOTO: Sight Lines Entertainment

The next 90 minutes in the virtual escape room truly tested us.

If you thought their last virtual escape room felt eerily life-like, you're in for a surprise.

The technology partnership with The Doodle People raised the production value up by several notches, through the use of Augmented Reality (AR) interactions and spatial audio surround sound draw. 

Navigating the Old Changi Hospital premises felt as though we were transported right to the grounds of the notoriously haunted infamous site.

Every 360° flashback footage we came across cracked open a window into the past. But piecing these flashback stories was far from a unilateral process.

With each new flashback footage, we found ourselves pointing fingers at the different suspects.

Rather than forming conclusions, we focused on thinking outside of the box when solving the puzzles and decoding encrypted texts.

And, of course, occasionally avoiding petrifying ghosts would pop out of nowhere to catch us off-guard.

PHOTO: Sight Lines Entertainment

At some point, returning back to rooms to re-examine clues and rewatch videos and re-listening to recordings might make you feel as though you are getting nowhere.

It won't help when you realise the dilapidated hospital is designed to complicate keeping track of which rooms we were navigating through.

But gear up, sit tight and persevere.

Should you solve the mystery, you stand the chance to win a Grand Prize - a two-day-one-night Luxurious Stay at Shangri-La Singapore's Valley Wing ($1,500++).

Murder At Old Changi Hospital's virtual escape room runs Fri - Sun, from Oct 8 - Nov 7, 2021 at 8.30pm and 10pm.

Tickets to the virtual escape room experience are priced for group access on one device, and are available in four packages:

  • The Detective ($45 per entry),
  • The Undercover, inclusive of an additional one clue and ten minutes time extension ($48 per entry),
  • The Professor, inclusive of an additional two clues and ten minutes time extension ($50 per entry).

Murder At Old Changi Hospital's Secret Agent VIP Experience, a virtual escape room inclusive of live theatre escape game experience, will run Oct 29 – Nov 7, 2021, at 1pm, 4pm and 8pm, priced at $200/five pax.

READ ALSO: Murder at Old Changi Hospital takes Halloween hijinks to the next level

This article was first published in City Nomads.