The people are real. The place is real. The fear is real.
A reality game show where contestants where shipped off to supposedly haunted areas of The United States (and sometimes outside of the country) and assigned tasks known as "dares" that usually related to the tale or legends of locations. Such dares ranged from performing psychic connections with spirits to re-enacting the death of a person known to haunt the area. Said tasks were accomplished in specific areas "where paranormal activity was reported," with there being almost no light anywhere other than a "safe house" that players were grouped and guided from via a computer program. Players may quit at any time, but forfeit their prize of $5,000 to be split up between whoever stays til the end. Famous for its chest mounted camera vests contestants wore and being the first among a wave of "scary" shows to follow in the early '00s such as Real Scary Stories and The Scariest Places on Earth.
This show provides examples of:
- Based on a Great Big Lie: The episode at Camp Spirit Lake. It's actually the location of the first Friday the 13th movie and not haunted in the least.
- Bonus Round: At St. Agnes Hospital, the final players receive a message that one final dare will give anyone who completes it an extra $3,000.
- Captain Obvious: A contestant enters a room and sees a specific set up for a dare and instantly knows what it's for, and then must sit through a detailed explanation of its connection to the area and then its use in the dare. Most often the navigator is repeating what an earlier video watched by the entire group has already said.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Used many, many times, mostly during dares involving observation, especially by Athena on the USS Hornet.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Sometimes contestants end up quitting not because they think they saw something or heard something or some object moved, but because of the cheer feeling of dread they feel at these abandoned and dilapidated locations.
- Radio Silence: How most observational dares are carried out.
- Rage Quit: At La Guerre Plantation, Sunshine completes two dares that keep her outside for nearly four hours with a slight break between them. Upon returning to the safe house, she is chosen instantly for a third dare and must leave immediately. Tired and hungry, she is bogged down by Jennifer's confusing directions and frustratingly quits.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Ryan in West Virginia State Penitentiary while attempting his second dare.
- Trash Talk: Many players will shout obscenities and taunts at the supposed haunted areas they must observe.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: Many dares could be completed by another if aborted by a player, with exceptions to J.Son's dare in the Duggan Brothers Cement Factory. He needed to climb a very high catwalk and then knock a wood block off the edge while wearing a noose seemingly tied to the block. He performs the task without the noose on, revealing the rope was not attached to the block. Upon returning to the safe house, he is disqualified and the dare must be skipped as the block was unreachable.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the episode at the Duggan Brother Cement Factory, Paul completes his dare and then seemingly opens an envelope, where he is sent to another location and sits for two hours with no radio contact to his increasingly alarmed teammates. Afterwards, they receive a message on the computer that Paul has completed a secret dare, earning his money and that they will never see him again.