Sunday, January 16, 2022

‘Archive 81’ Review: The Netflix horror series is creepy and addictive

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‘Archive 81’ may be a hit, but it’s really weird and addicting at the same time

Netflix has a knack for spoiling its viewers with amazing content, and when it comes to the horror genre, there are plenty of exceptional titles on the streaming platform. Aside from having some of the most intriguing horror titles, it’s also made up of some of the weirdest horror shows. From last year’s “Behind Her Eyes” to “Clickbait,” the world’s leading streaming platform is attempting to reach greater heights with such experimental projects.

The platform has added another show to its horror catalogue, titled Archive 81. The series revolves around a man named Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) who works at the Museum of Moving Images restoring old and damaged tapes. One day, he receives an offer to restore a tape of a student named Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) making a video on before going to the Visser apartment for one of her projects. However, his life is turned upside down when he learns the truth about this building and what happened there.


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As soon as Melody reaches the Visser building, spooky things happen. As she sleeps, she hears an eerie buzzing sound and when she says “Hello,” it suddenly stops. At the same time, there is also a lot of interference on the tapes. There is always tension when Melody meets people there. She claims she’s there for a community-based research project, but she’s actually on the hunt for her birth mother, who abandoned Melody as a baby.

During these parts, the series succeeds in building suspense and letting everyone, including Dan, feel the fear through the videotapes. One thing that makes the show so unique is that it doesn’t rely on jump scares or spooky noises to scare you. Rather, it terrifies you with the situations the characters find themselves in and believe me the show takes it to a whole new level with the growing sense of fear.

Acting-wise, Mamoudou Athie did a phenomenal job as Dan. His gritty performance makes the show even more compelling. His character fights his own demons to unravel the mystery of the Visser Building and, being left in isolation, feels the paranoia set in as soon as he dives into these tapes. There couldn’t have been anyone better than Mamoudou to play Dan.

However, it is Dina Shihabi who takes your breath away as Melody. Just like Mamoudou, her appearance is very reserved. Whenever she appears on screen, you know something special is about to come from her, and she won’t disappoint. She did a great job on Jack Ryan and on Archive 81 she just showed how amazingly talented she really is.

The performances of the main cast will completely mesmerize you and the reason why they are so amazing is because the show was presented in a way that could have surpassed anything but they held the show down with their acting skills with aplomb.

Another outstanding actress is Ariana Neal who plays the role of Jess. On the other hand, Martin Donovan is great as Virgil as always. His character is never trustworthy. But that’s the whole point of his character. Meanwhile, Julia Chan delivers another great performance as Anabelle on the show

A total of eight hours might be a long time to unravel the mystery of Archive 81, but that’s the beauty of it. Each episode leads you down a rabbit hole, increasing the horror quotient and making you gasp for hair. The show is weird but at the same time this is the kind of show we’ve been waiting for.

Archive 81 is undoubtedly one of the best horror series on Netflix and is a must see.

Archive 81 Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.

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