Hey movie fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon, here to give a quick guide to the first episode of the hottest horror series on Netflix right now, Archive 81. There will be some mild spoilers below so be forewarned. I’ll be posting through the first season’s episodes but I have not seen past this first episode so let’s keep it spoiler light in the comments too okay?
Archive 81 is about an archivist named Dan who restores films, VHS tapes, basically any visual arts that use a film reel. He works for a film museum and one day he’s asked to restore an old VHS tape that has been damaged from a fire. We don’t know a lot about Dan other than he somehow lost his family and he at one point was, “feeling low” and has a friend who is concerned for his welfare. Soon into the episode the donor who asked for the video tape to be restored requests Dan come work for him in the Catskills where they have a collection of these VHS tapes. He’ll be secluded and on his own if he agrees though. The company hiring Dan seems a bit odd and the man who hires him seems to know way more than he should about Dan.
Of course, Dan agrees to go, and since this is a horror show, needless to say some strange things start happening. I don’t want to give too much of that away other than to say Dan is restoring tapes that focus on a building called the Visser. The tapes show him a woman named Melody who we can presume will be the focal point of the tapes and might provide clues as to what happened at the Visser.
It’s hard to judge a show from a first episode. Especially one that is meant to be totally bingeable and wants you to sit through eight hours of episodes. I still think it’s worth taking a look at each one on its own merits.
For a first episode, this one sets the tone quite nicely. There’s just enough odd going on that as a viewer you want to know what happens next. At the same time, it’s not giving so much away you see all the twists coming.
It’s clearly going to be weird but to my mind this whole series will end up making it or not based on the ending. I’m just going to say now if this has anything to do with aliens, I’m out. But so far, it has a lot of potential and I’d say it’s probably worth a watch.