A found-footage horror podcast is being turned into an eight-episode Netflix show executive produced by horror master James Wan. The show is called Archive 81 and it’ll star Mamoudou Athie (Black Box, Underwater) and Dina Shihabi (Altered Carbon, Jack Ryan).
In the show, Athie will play Dan, an archivist who is tasked with restoring a bunch of old VHS tapes from the 1990s. On them, he finds the work of a documentarian named Melody (Shihabi) who was investigating a creepy cult. As Dan watches Melody’s 25-year-old footage, he gets drawn into the story and soon believes he can finish what Melody started.
The story is a loose interpretation of the podcast, also called Archive 81, which has already run three seasons with a fourth on the way. Co-created by Marc Sollinger and Daniel Powell, that too is about a person who finds tapes (audio, in that case), plays them, and then analyzes them, discovering scary, intriguing stories.
Rebecca Sonnenshine (The Boys, The Vampire Diaries) will show run the project and Rebecca Thomas (Stranger Things) will direct half of the eight-episode season. Paul Harris Boardman (Deliver Us From Evil) developed the script.
“With Archive 81, we’re hoping to give the supernatural horror genre a new twist—while keeping a dark, deeply emotional romance as its core,” Sonnenshine said in a press release. “Alongside the talented Mamoudou Athie and Dina Shihabi, and visionary partners Atomic Monster and Rebecca Thomas, I’m excited to take Netflix viewers on a terrifying and visually thrilling adventure.”
With Wan and his Atomic Monster team overseeing, and a talented group of people at the helm, this show is obviously aspiring to join other Netflix shows like The Haunting of Hill House, Stranger Things, and Locke and Key as spooky, buzzworthy horror hits. And if Archive 81 lives up to its Blair Witch Project meets The Ring potential, maybe it can.
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