With a lot of suspicion and low expectations, I entered this SF – horror series, and “Archive 81” turned out to be a completely unexpected surprise. Maybe “Archive 81” doesn’t exude any special originality, but the creator Rebecca Sonnenshane mixed elements of SF, found footage, creepiness in the wake of movies like “The Circle” and my favorite occultism almost in the wake of “Rosemary’s Baby”. Maybe I’ve discovered too much now because only somewhere in the third or fourth episode of this extremely structured series do we realize that we’re dealing with a wicked cult, but the story fits in perfectly and it’s a series that can hardly be stopped.
The plot starts in the present when we meet the young archivist Dan Turner (Mamadou Athie), a master of rescuing old films and restoring them in digital format. To guess that Dan is recovering from the breakup as if he had some mental difficulties, and he will be hired by the mysterious entrepreneur Davenport (Martin Donovan) to try to save VHS recordings from the first half of the nineties. These recordings were made by student Melody Pendras (Dia Shihabi) who decided to research the history of a New York building called Vesser for her dissertation. Shortly after Melody moved there, the building burned to the ground with almost all the occupants, and by processing Melody’s old footage, Dan tries to reconstruct what happened there.
Not to forget, Davenport will place Dan in some isolated dwelling, and he will realize that this whole story has a lot to do with him and his family. In parallel with Dan’s attempts to restore Melody’s VHS recordings, we will follow the events of 1994, and all of this will somehow become more and more connected. Almost like putting together a puzzle, the mosaic will slowly come together, and all the time the viewer wonders what is reality, what is fantasy, and what is someone’s madness? In these eight episodes directed by Rebecca Thomas, Saudi Haifaa al-Mansour and famous SF-horror duo Justin Benson – Aaron Moorhead, there is really everything that comes in handy in every horror and really “Archive 81” is quality content that will have no problems. enjoy even those who may not be fans of classic horror.
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