Archive 81 Review: Please give us Season 2… and 3!

Netflix came out swinging in 2022.

One of the trippiest, creepy, and mesmerizing shows debuted called Archive 81.

You follow Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) on one whirlwind of a journey. Turner restores video tapes for a living, and is contracted by a very large company (LMG) to work from a hidden campus outside of New York City to fix a set of tapes.

Dan has no idea what he’s getting into. He follows the story of Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) who is videotaping her journey in the 1970s. Melody is searching for her mom in an old NYC apartment called the Visser. She tells everyone else she’s doing a college project, but really she’s trying to speak with those who live at the Visser to find out who/where her mom is.

Melody was left at a church when she was a baby, so she never knew her mother. This left her hungry for answers, and potentially closure.

As Dan works through Melody’s old tapes, eerie things begin to happen. She hears chanting through the vent of her apartment. She walks in on what appears to be some sort of statue-worshipping service where all her neighbors seem to be in a trance. There’s also this music… this EXTREMELY creepy music that one of her neighbors plays for her that ends up making Melody very upset and unconscious. This melody (no pun intended) ends up being the “hymn” the cult members sing throughout the show.

So why has this company employed Dan to recover these tapes? What about them is so important to the owner of LMG? As the show goes on, you find out the owner, Virgil Davenport (Martin Donovan), is brothers with the head of the cult. He claims Melody murdered his brother Samuel (Evan Jonigkeit) and he “just wants to know what happened.” Likely story, Virgil.

Dan catches wind of Virgil’s plan and has to come to a decision on what to do. Does he continue to help Virgil with the tapes, or does he leave it all behind? So what is drawing Dan in to these tapes that keeps him going?

Throughout the season, Dan and Melody are somehow connected. They are able to speak to one another through some sort of supernatural vortex, but each wake up later on and think it’s a dream. But it feels so real… is it?

Turns out, the cult was trying to summon a god/demon creature, Kaelego, who is from another universe. They believe if they worship him enough and bring him to Earth, they will be a part of his kingdom. While doing the spell to bring him to Earth, we find out Melody was actually taken to Kaelego’s world. But somehow, through the tapes, Melody and Dan are able to communicate.

Does Dan ever find Melody? And does Kaelego end up being unleashed upon the Earth? You’ll just have to find out. It’s a pretty easy watch, but I’d recommend only watching 1-2 episodes a day. The episodes are deep and dark, plus they’re not very short. They average about 53 minutes an episode.

Let’s just say, the way the show ends leaves plenty of room for a Season 2, and 3! Plus it seemed that the show was doing very well as it was #Trending on Twitter. If you’re a fan of horror, sci/fi, cult, or thriller shows… this one’s for you.


Published by mattsheehanofficial

Matt Sheehan is a journalist based in Illinois. He grew up in St. Louis and went to college at Missouri State University. He's the host of On the Record, and secures exclusive interviews with celebrities for his TV morning show.

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