The Netflix interactive short film Escape The Undertaker debuted on the streaming service today (Oct. 5). As fans of The New Day, the Dead Man, and pro wrestling-related silliness, we here at Cageside Seats have been looking forward to this Halloween special. Was it a trick, or a treat?
I punched it up this morning, because I’m an adult who is somehow fortunate enough to get paid for doing things like that. While I didn’t play through every option, I clicked my way through enough to give you some thoughts.
Mostly, I’d recommend you watch/play Escape The Undertaker with a kid who can handle some light creepiness. But in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” spirit of the thing, I’ll also provide some alternatives. It’ll also be more enjoyable with a group of friends who like WWE who you can riff with, and/or approximately 30 - 45 minutes after ingesting an edible.
A high-level, non-spoiler synopsis: We start in what I can only describe as Taker’s alchemy garage.
He’s using mystical energy to forge some things that will come into play later in the story, and to tell us the story of his precious urn. It’s the urn Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods have come to ask the Phenom for... at his creepy mansion. Uninvited. At night. To Woods’ credit, he does suggest they come back when the sun is out.
Because he’s bored, and his urn needs pure souls, Taker lets New Day into his creepy mansion. But if they want to combine their Power of Positivity with the power of the urn, they’ll need to work for it. There are three levels of the house to explore. Shortly after you start that, E will start to get his soul sucked out of his body (at one point he pukes fluorescent purple because of this slow soul sucking process) - so the clock is ticking.
There are roughly a dozen choices you can make en route to the end of Escape The Undertaker, and you can always undo your last selection if it leads you to an untimely end. I truthfully only did that once, because I couldn’t resist being a smart ass and choosing “I’m too scared” for the first one. That rewards you with a clever credits gag before kicking you back into the story anyway.
Eventually, you’ll find yourself in the basement, where the Dead Man is doing some light blacksmithing. It’s time for a throwdown, and Take is going to bust out some Sith shiz on ya...
... but that closing stretch is also where we see some fighting that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Undertaker’s Boneyard Match with AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36.
It’s just one way that Escape The Undertaker is as much pro wrestling as it is Goosebumps. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee introduce Taker and New Day in video packages shortly after they appear on screen. There are Easter eggs for the Phenom’s legendary career, including an old gimmick his kayfabe brother used to work. And the story is true to the characters - especially the Princes of Positivity. Here’s a hint: choosing friendship will never steer you wrong.
The interactive component isn’t great. The cuts after you make a choice could be smoother, but the antics of E, Kof & Woods are entertaining enough to incentivize you to see what other foolishness they might get up to on the branches you don’t go down on the first pass. It took me about 30 minutes to get through it once, and based on the runtime Netflix displays, Escape The Undertaker has another 20 or so minutes worth of footage to explore if you’re so inclined.
So go ahead. Knock on the Dead Man’s door, and Feel The Power. There are worse ways to kill a half hour. You could be watching Raw (I kid, I kid).
Check out Escape The Undertaker on Netflix here.