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Horror mishmash Archive 81 is big, barmy and bewildering

Demonic cults, a fatal fire and creepy compounds — what’s not to like? Yet the show takes itself way too seriously, even if it is brilliantly performed

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Puzzle: Mamoudou Athie plays Dan Turner in Archive 81

Puzzle: Mamoudou Athie plays Dan Turner in Archive 81

Puzzle: Mamoudou Athie plays Dan Turner in Archive 81

Is Archive 81 (Netflix) the silliest show on telly? Probably not — but it certainly comes close. Inspired by a podcast about a missing filmmaker, Rebecca Sonnenshine’s trippy, supernatural soirée tells the fictional story of a film archivist, Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), whose services are called upon by an enigmatic rich dude named Virgil Davenport (Martin Donovan).

Dan is very good at restoring damaged videotapes, and that’s exactly what Virgil wants him to do. He offers Dan $100,000 to work on a temporary project in the Catskills, where he’ll live alone in a creepy compound, fully equipped with all the necessary gear — and tasty snacks — to keep him ticking over. Sounds legit, right? Of course not.


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