Triad Escape Room brings zombie thrills to Winston-Salem

by Rebecca Harrelson

| @writemesweetly

An air born virus has run rampant in an old Winston-Salem mall, and you and your friends are locked in a pitch-black room. Some of you are in huge cages, others of your group have been taken hostage and put separately in a different room altogether. You cannot even see your hand in front of your face, and you hear the gurgles of cannibalistic zombies trying to make their way to you.

Triad Escape Room is not for the weak hearted. Located in Winston Salem at the Marketplace Mall this 2400-squarefoot thrill will have you screaming for 60 minutes.

From the beginning you are greeted by the keeper, donned in a facemask, handing you a waiver where you are told these zombies are going to try and touch you, and that no one under the age of 13 is permitted inside this thrill-scare experience.

Owner Michael Sullivan gave YES! Weekly the creepy facts on all the terror that is in store. “So they first come in and fill out a waiver, the reason we have them fill out a waiver is when people go back there they turn into fruit loops, there Is really no way to predict how they will respond. Our actors are in this game, trying to touch them, and we tell them that at the very beginning.”

You are handcuffed together, with tape placed over your mouth, but it does not get any easier from there. The plague doctor greets your team by placing a temporary hood over your heads while you are lead into the game. If you are touched while in the game that means a Zombie has gotten you. Subtle clues in the dark make you wish you brought the right group of people together to help get you out of this trap. There have been hundreds of groups that have gone to play this game, and only a little over 15 have actually found their way out.

Sullivan was in the Real Estate business until one day he had the idea to create something straight out of a video game: a real life, zombie infested game. The space itself is perfect; within North Carolina code they are given the title of a “fun house” which is quite laughable once you experience this game. They have been open for a little over five months, with Fridays and Saturdays even busier now that Halloween is upon us.

Sullivan explains that groups of six or more tend to do better, any less than that they tend to huddle together in fear. “The area many groups tend to fail is with lack of communication. They end up huddled in a corner, and I have to come on the intercom and tell them this is called the Escape Room not the survive room.” This is definitely not a haunted house; there is no moving quickly from room to room, running in fear. This is an in depth experience with tools and clues that you and your teammates have to find under intense freaky pressure.

“Oh yeah they are coming after you”¦ hard. I’ll get in someone’s face and I say ‘you can scream if you want to.’ We pick the squirmiest two to separate from the group into their own room.” Sullivan says he would have picked me right off the bat, because even seeing the space and hearing how the game goes had gotten me spooked”¦apparently it showed. They mainly employee School of The Arts students with great makeup and acting talents. There are generally three actors in one game, but somehow even knowing they are actors does not seem to make it comforting.

The gruesome zombies are chained up for the majority of the 60 minutes but by the end of the game the zombie can go anywhere you go. Are you prepared to find your way out? !


The Triad Escape Room is located at The Marketplace Mall, 2101 Peters Creek Parkway. Visit for more info. Tickets begin at $29 per person with varying rates for large groups.