Netflix has unveiled the official trailer for the upcoming horror series “Archive 81,” which draws upon nostalgia for the videotape era of the 1990s to weave a chilling tale that plays out across dual timelines.
Loosely inspired by the podcast of the same name, “Archive 81” begins in present day with a character named Dan (Mamoudou Athie) being hired by a shadowy organization to restore video tapes that were damaged in a fire 25 years ago. As Dan restores the tapes in a remote location (“for his security” he’s assured), he witnesses the story of a woman named Melody (Dina Shihabi) who begins videotaping residents of an odd apartment building to create an oral history, only to discover something incredibly strange about the building and its inhabitants.
“I’m obsessed with mystery box shows, the kind that lead us down a rabbit hole into a strange, dark world,” showrunner, executive producer and writer Rebecca Sonnenshine said in a statement provided by Netflix. “’Archive 81’ is a character-driven, deeply emotional story about the nature of art, faith, and the search for identity — all wrapped up in a frayed blanket of existential dread. The show also gave this film geek the chance to unearth all sorts of forgotten media formats as found footage, which results in a unique, visually-textured story that is both beautiful and terrifying.”
The supernatural thriller series also stars Martin Donovan, Matt McGorry, Julia Chan, Evan Jonigkeit and Ariana Neal. The first season consists of eight episodes and is directed by Rebecca Thomas, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and Haifaa Al Mansour.
“Archive 81” premieres on Netflix Friday, Jan. 14 and is also executive produced by James Wan and Michael Clear of Atomic Monster (“The Conjuring” Universe film franchise and “Malignant”), Rebecca Thomas (“Stranger Things,” “Limetown”), Antoine Douaihy (“Panic,” “The Good Cop”) and Paul Harris Boardman (“Deliver Us from Evil”).
Watch the trailer above.