We love stories that leave us with more questions than we had anticipated in the beginning, and when they turn out to be horror stories, it multiplies our urge to binge-watch the whole sequence in one go. This same feeling was experienced by the viewers of Netflix’s supernatural, sci-fi mystery horror streaming television series, Archive 81.
The story brings out the age-old terror into the modern world by revolving around the researchers cataloging the video archive of a missing filmmaker. The plotline makes us relive the era of VHS where we had to endure the creepy hiss, the crackles, and the static coming from a well-worn cassette. The series promised a tale of cursed videotapes in the style of “The Ring” and was fully capable of bringing some thoroughly spooky moments along with multiple conspiracies, mysteries, and all-out weirdness.
The OTT platform introduced the series on January 14, 2022, and it runs eight episodes long. It is based on a podcast of the same name. Later on October 26, 2020, it was found that Rebecca Sonnenshine would be the executive producer along with Paul Harris Boardman. Atomic Monster writes the show.
The series began with Daniel “Dan” Turner, restoring Hi8 videotapes, which were filmed by Melody Pendras in 1994 and supposed to introduce her Ph.D. dissertation that focuses on an apartment complex in New York City called The Visser.
After that, it wasn’t long before Dan was pulled into the bizarre world of his VHS restoration project as it was revealed that the tapes contain Melody’s investigation that focuses on the search for her biological mother, which has brought her to The Visser after she received a mysterious letter. It wasn’t long before her investigation took her to an occult, where she further stumbles upon a sinister cult that permeates the building.
The videotapes were proof of her findings and depicted a mysterious cult, a God-demon, which might be accurate, and the final moments of a woman who supposedly died in a fire in 1994. According to the recordings, the cult was run by Samuel Spare, who seeks to thin the veil between worlds, summoning a God demon known as Kaelego. The reason behind their aim is to create a world that has no suffering, and the spell that they used for the summoning is based on a sacrificial ritual that was used in 1924, which caused the fire which destroyed the Vos Mansion – the building which originally stood on the site of The Visser.
The show came to an end, which left many of us somewhat confused about the whereabouts of Dan. The last episode, “What Lies Beneath,” begins with a new tape where Jess and Melody are bonding out in the park. The scene soon shifted towards Melody’s incarceration in a psychiatric ward. What confused us was time travel. We found Dan waking up in a hospital bed through this arc, which didn’t seem to be up to date with the modern world’s technology, and we never got the answers about Samuel’s fate. Along with that, Dan’s arrival in the present time was never filmed and left us with a question, Could he still be in the Other World?
If you want to solve the mystery, you must binge-watch the eight episodes and make your theory out of the leftover riddles.