"Archive 81" Review: "Rosemary's Baby" Meets "The Blair Witch Project" - GMonsterTV

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"Archive 81" Review: "Rosemary's Baby" Meets "The Blair Witch Project"

"Archive 81" dropped on NetFlix in January. Since James Wan is executive producer ("The Conjuring", "Saw", "Insidious", "Maligant" etc) odds are I'm going to like it. The series is based on a podcast of the same name. Found footage is used extensively. 

In present day Dan (excellently portrayed by Mamoudou Athie) is hired by a mysterious man named Virgil Davenport. Dan previously worked at the Museum Of The Moving Image. He has expertise in restoring VHS tapes. Davenport is the head of a F500 company called LMG. Davenport will pay Dan a large sum of money to digitize tapes that were partially destroyed in a fire. The catch (and there's always a catch) is he has to do it at an isolated upstate New York facility that has no cell reception.

Dan's bestie Mark (who hosts the "Mysterious Signals" podcast) helps him with background research and serves as a grounding force for Dan (since he's had some mental health issues in the past). 

The tapes turn out to be from a 1994 fire that destroyed the Visser Building in New York City. It is important to note here that no bodies were found in the wreckage.The tapes were recorded by grad student Melody (another excellent performance by Dina Shihabi). She says she wants to do a oral history of the building but she's actually looking for the mother that abandoned her. 

The series skips between 1994, present day and even 1924. It is, at times, a bit hard to figure out what is happening when. Of course there are other connections between Dan and Melody which will unfold over time. 

SPOILER ALERT: Turn back now if you havent seen the series. 

Melody starts witnesses the strange events at the apartment building. What's up with the strange chanting in the basement? Does college professor Samuel have something up his sleeve? He's too nice to be trusted. Most of the residents in the building have been there for some time. There's also Jess who runs errands for the residents and ends up befriending Melody. She also has mysterious seizures. The local priest thinks she is possessed. 

So what is going on here? It turns out the Visser was built on the remains of the Vos Mansion. It also burned to the ground in 1924. Mere coincidence? Nope. The member of this cult are trying to bring an entity called Kaelego into our world. He is referenced as neither god nor demon but is very powerful.He definitely wants to cross over to our dimension. I'm not sure that's a good idea.  

In order to conjure him up, they need: 1. The blood of a witch (which they call Baldung here), 2. a willing human sacrifice, 3. some tuning forks 4. the statue of Kalaego, and 5. a whole lot of chanting. There's some weird mold which causes people to hallucinate or be more susceptible to influences from the OtherWorld. There's also something about a comet called Kharon (and necklaces and paint made out of Khraonite). I'm a bit fuzzy on that part. The human sacrifice must be "capable of holding a whole new world inside them". Each of the two times they've tried to bring Kalaego into the world, the place has burned down. I won't give anything else away since you should watch it for yourself. 

Grade: 5 Monsters (out of 5). Archive 81" has a bit of a slow start. The use of "found footage" is also a bit much at times.Despite any flaws it might have, I still really enjoyed the series. Reminiscent of "Rosemary's Baby" or "666 Park Avenue", "Archive 81" proves that lots of creepy things can happen in settings other than gothic castles or old dilapidated houses. With just eight episodes total, "Archive 81" is a fast watch. The show ends on a cliffhanger but, unfortunately, we'll never learn more. "Archive 81" has been officially canceled by NetFlix. That's a bummer since there's definitely more of this strange story to be told. 

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TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

March 29, 2022

"Archive 81" Review: "Rosemary's Baby" Meets "The Blair Witch Project" Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 7:09 AM Rating: 5 "Archive 81" dropped on NetFlix in January. Since James Wan is executive producer ("The Conjuring", "Saw", &qu...

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