Houses were very well rounded this year. All were solid, but all also lacked that extra "Wow" factor for me. Not to say I didn't really enjoy quite a few of them, but I don't think any are quite as good as some of my all-time favorites. Initial hopes and dreams: I was frothing at the mouth to see Nightingales. I thought this house had the coolest house concept in years, and I was ready as hell. Forsaken was very highly anticipated as well, for its unique location and possibilities. I didn't give a **** about the In-Between, because I'd always seen 3D as more of a gimmick than a legit scare tactic. And Saws was in a bad location, so I resigned myself to its demise. Opening Weekend: (*Woa! Lots of potential from that Nightingales house! Woa! Is that a man being torn in half?! Woa!*) Event Progresses: (*Woa...why does everyone in Nightingales seem so bored...Woa...this is...really disappointing...*) In the end, Nightingales really fell apart for me. After my first run, it seemed like everytime I went in, the actors seemed less interested. The soldier getting ripped in half was always a treasure to see...but seeing it was tricky. A lot of rooms just didn't seem to have much going on...A lot of potential, but it ended up being largely mediocre. All my love was transferred over to the two houses I had previously discounted, the amazingly cool and pretty damn scary In-Between, and a damn well-done Saws n Steam house. Gotta love that scuba man. Whoever played him, you're my hero. 1. In Between (9.5/10) -- House of the Year for consistently giving the most scares and for one of the coolest environments I've seen in a long time. 2. Saws n Steam (9/10) -- If they could always do this in the jaws queue, why don't we see something this kickass here every year? 3. Forsaken (8/10) -- Nice sets, nice effects, very good actors. Just wish it was longer... 4. Nightingales (8/10) -- Not the classic I thought, but hey -- I cared enough about it to make sure my friends and I were the last guests ever to enter this bad boy. 5. Winter's Night (7.5/10) -- Beautiful, huge sets. A few very creative scares, but lacked a bit in intensity. 6. Nevermore (7.5/10) -- I really loved all the scenes in here, but scares were hard to come by. 7. The Thing (7/10) -- Nice looking sets, but let's be honest -- this house had nothing on Assimilation. 8. H.R. Bloodengutz (6/10) -- Creative and pretty cool at parts. But it wasn't really my thing. Sets were overall my least favorite, and not a single scare in close to 10 walkthroughs.