Horror, a pinch of found footage and lots of mystery: the new Netflix series Archive 81 has a promising mix in store for genre fans and attracted interest in advance thanks to the participation of well-known horror names such as James Wan as well as Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Endless) wake up. But is it also worth it?
The 8 episodes (45 to 58min each) series Archive 81 has been streaming on Netflix since January 14th and is loosely based on the podcast of the same name. In my series check I give you a little insight, what kind of horror you can expect here and why fans of mystery boxing shows like Fringe, Twin Peaks or Dark in particular can look forward to it.
Here is the trailer for the new Netflix series Archive 81
Archive 81 – S01 Trailer (English) HD
New to Netflix: That’s what the Archive 81 horror series is all about
The plot of Archive 81 follows the cineast, archivist and film restorer Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) from New York, who receives a strange offer from a mysterious billionaire (Martin Donovan). For a hefty sum of money he should a number of damaged Hi8 cartridges restore – all in a secluded concrete complex in the Catskill Mountains.
The material consists of film recordings by the student Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi), which the residents of the eerie Visser apartment building interviewed in New York. The series is divided into two levels: Dan’s videotape horror in the present and Melody’s experience in 1994 (a mixture of classic staging and found footage style).
A mystery unravels for Dan from videotape to videotape Cults, the occult, menacing mold and morethat he cannot escape. What is really behind the fire that burned down the Visser? What connections do the recordings have with his personal tragic past? And can he save Melody from her terrible fate?
Archive 81: Creeping horror instead of wooden hammer horror
The most pressing question for horror fans is, of course, whether the Archive 81 series can also be really scary in its eight episodes. If you’re into bloody carnage and noisy jumpscares, Archive 81 may disappoint you. Because here is more of the one through one dense and uncomfortable mood unleashed horror in the foreground.
When Dan begins to doubt his own perception of reality, alone in the concrete bunker between the crackling TV noise and distorting video tape errors, a feeling of paranoia begins to creep in, as if from a shining. This is joined by analog techno horror à la Pulse or Sinister – and especially for traumatized Ring victims there are two disturbing moments.
Suitable genre comparisons for the storyline around Melody would be Suspiria or Rosemary’s Baby. Because here too it unfolds uncomfortable sect shudder in a residential complex reminiscent of Bramford House.
With every new person who gets to know Melody, the feeling increases that they and we viewers are being manipulated and lied to by these apartment block figures and to themselves announces an unimaginable horror.
Archive 81: The Netflix series casts a spell over you with gruesome mysteries
The Horror Series label may not have been chosen so wisely by Netflix. Because the horror plays a subordinate role here. Rather, the series draws its strength from something else: the puzzle fun.
The mysteries stacking up one after the other and the eerie and weird atmosphere cast a spell over us. Archive 81 works best when we meet find completely lost between too many puzzles, endless clues and solutions.
Archives 81 is a classic mystery box seriesthat moves from puzzle to puzzle and only promises a solution at the end. Without revealing too much about the actual elements of the series: fans of series like Twin Peaks, The X-Files and Fringe will feel right at home – even if Archive 81 with all of them seemingly complex puzzles doesn’t burn nearly as much brainpower as Netflix’s time warp epic Dark.
All in all, I really enjoyed Archive 81. The slightly grainy film aesthetics and the harshly noisy Hi8 recordings are particularly refreshing A change from the otherwise very clean Netflix series look. However, Archive 81 might have done well to rely entirely on the found footage style for the 1994 scenes, which is temporarily discarded.
The 1st season of Archive 81 includes 8 episodes released on Netflix on January 14, 2022. The entire first season served as the basis for this series check.
Do you already have Archive 81 on your Netflix watchlist?