Archive 81 Trailer: There's Nothing Scarier Than Old VHS Tapes In Netflix's New Horror Series

Prepare yourselves, conspiracy lovers: Netflix is inviting subscribers down a twisty new rabbit hole. The streamer just released a full trailer for "Archive 81," the supernatural found-footage series loosely based on Daniel Powell and Marc Sollinger's horror podcast of the same name. The upcoming series certainly takes after its source material by following an unsuspecting archivist swept away by a dangerous mystery, but a change in format also gives the story a lot more options. While the podcast explored a web of darkness largely rooted in sound and audio archives, the Netflix show has the bonus of chilling visuals to strike fear in the audience. And based on this trailer, they're using that to their advantage.

Archive 81 Trailer

Among the many lessons the horror genre has taught us is this important nugget of wisdom: VHS tapes are terrifying. Sadako hammered this home via a cursed image of her crawling out of a TV in "Ringu," then the "V/H/S" franchise came along with another powerful reminder. You could argue that analog video recording has faded into obscurity because of technological advancements, but nah — it's definitely because of all the horrific possibilities. Just ask the protagonist of "Archive 81," who casually throws caution to the wind by binging through various VHS tapes.

The series follows Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), an archivist who takes a job restoring damaged videotapes from 1994. Cue disturbing footage of cults, demons, and one very terrified woman. Dan quickly becomes immersed in unnerving footage, as he begins piecing together the lost work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi), who was investigating a dangerous cult. Drawn into Melody's story, Dan becomes convinced that he can save her from whatever fate awaits at the end of the footage and begins an investigation of his own. Nothing dangerous about a solo cult investigation, right? Right?!

Here's the official synopsis from Netflix:

"Archive 81 follows archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), who takes a job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994. Reconstructing the work of a documentary filmmaker named Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi), he is drawn into her investigation of a dangerous cult at the Visser apartment building. As the season unfolds across these two timelines, Dan slowly finds himself obsessed with uncovering what happened to Melody. When the two characters form a mysterious connection, Dan becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying end she met 25 years ago."

This chilling tale comes from showrunner, executive producer, and writer Rebecca Sonnenshine, known for her prior involvement with "The Boys" and "The Vampire Diaries." Along with the trailer, Sonnenshine teased a thrilling series to come, saying:

"I'm obsessed with mystery box shows, the kind that lead us down a rabbit hole into a strange, dark world. 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."

"Archive 81" hits Netflix on January 14, 2022.