Archive 81 is Netflix’s next must-watch horror and viewers "can’t stop thinking about it"

An image from Archive 81, a new Netflix horror series
(Image credit: Netflix)

Archive 81 might just be 2022’s first must-watch horror series. The ingredients are there: a compelling premise, a ton of jump scares, and found footage – all backed up by producer and horror legend James Wan, director of The Conjuring and Insidious.

It’s little wonder Netflix viewers are talking about it. Archive 81 sees archivist Dan (Mamoudou Athie) restoring tapes that charted the history of an apartment that burned down over a quarter of a century ago.

Of course, there’s more to it than that beneath the surface. That documented history was covering another suspicious fire in the same building in the early 20th century, plus Dan’s family all died in a fire. As Dan digs deeper into the mystery via the fire-ravaged tapes – in a remote facility, no less – it’s clear that dark and shadowy forces are lurking just out of sight.

"Archive 81 has me totally fucked up, I haven’t gotten chills like this from just watching something scary in a while," one fan says. Another had a similarly terrified reaction: "The show is too scary and I had to take a [break]."

"I haven’t stopped thinking about it… this show will dig under your skin until you’re not sure what’s real. It’s really fucking good," says one hooked viewer.

It’s also received some weighty comparisons, including those who describe it as "Blair Witch Project meets Rosemary’s Baby with a sprinkle of Midsommar" and a mash-up of horror classics such as Get Out and Midnight Mass. High praise indeed.

"No idea what's going on, but it's definitely giving off Hereditary, The Omen, and Rosemary’s Baby vibes so far. This is totally my kind of show," gushes horror journalist Michelle Swope.

Legendary video game developer Hideo Kojima – who also gave a thumbs up recently to Netflix’s Hellbound – has watched the first episode and has praised the plot, while saying the rest looks "promising."

Archive 81 isn’t the only series that has captured the imagination on Netflix already this year. Stay Close is another of the streamer’s surprise hits, though Barbie and Ken’s dance routines might just be scarier than anything found in Archive 81.

For more from the streamer, be sure to check out the best Netflix shows. Need to be scared silly? Here’s our curated collection of the best horror movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.