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Movies and shows like Archive 81: What to watch after the Netflix series
Based on a podcast of the same name, Archive 81 tells the story of an archivist hired to restore video from a New York City apartment building that burned down in the 90s. After he relocates to a remote facility to begin his work in isolation, he starts seeing disturbing things in the tapes he’s working on. A young woman chronicling the building’s history may have disappeared, and she may have a surprising connection to the archivist.
Read on for a list of things you can watch after Archive 81 if you’re hooked on the Netflix horror series. And if you haven’t watched it yet, hit the link below to see what all the hype is about.
Movies and shows like Archive 81
Shows like Archive 81
Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021)
Another Netflix original miniseries, Brand New Cherry Flavor, like Archive 81, is all about moving images and the 90s. An emerging filmmaker moves to Hollywood hoping to make it big. Once there, she mistakenly trusts a ruthless and backstabbing producer, and her quest for revenge includes hallucinogenics, curses, and some of LA’s larger-than-life local characters.
The X-Files (1993-2018)
One of the best features of The X-Files is how it could redefine itself from one episode to the next. Developed when TV seasons were over 20 episodes long, it had room to experiment and shift dramatically in tone with its monster-of-the-week format. Calling The X-Files a show like Archive 81 is not entirely accurate, mostly because it depends on which episode or season you’re on. But there’s plenty of overlap. There are some great cult-centric episodes like season four’s “The Field Where I Died” or season two’s “Die Hand Die Verletzt.” Many other episodes — like “Beyond the Sea” (season one), “Home” (season four), or “Milagro” (season six) — achieve a dark and creepy tone that may well appeal to fans of Archive 81.
Told across two timelines, Yellowjackets is a show like Archive 81 in that it revolves around a mystery set in the 90s and the ways it reverberates into the present day. It’s also cleverly creepy and one of the best shows around. A high school girls soccer team is stranded in the wilderness in 1996 when their plane crashes on the way to a national tournament. The girls eventually descend into Lord of the Flies-esque group madness, with more than a few hints of the supernatural. In the present, reminders of the woods creep into the surVivors’ lives.
Based on a hit podcast like Archive 81, Homecoming follows a social worker who can’t remember any of the details from her work with the Geist Group, a facility for veterans trying to reintegrate into society after active duty. Trying to move on in her new life as a waitress, she begins to realize the work she was doing, and her inability to remember it, may be tied to a disturbing conspiracy.
So much of horror comes down to mood. While Apple’s M. Night Shyamalan-helmed horror series doesn’t have a ton of thematic overlap with Archive 81, it does share a creeping sense of unease and dark, slow-burn pace and mood. It also hints at supernatural forces and features cult behavior, so we’re checking off a few boxes making it a show like Archive 81, but mostly, if you love the chilling ambiance of the Netflix original series, you may get a similar thrill out of Servant.
Netflix’s Danish supernatural horror series has a lot in common with Archive 81. There’s childhood loss, an investigation into a disappearance, flashbacks to the 1990s, a mysterious cult, and a supernatural threat. A woman investigates the long-ago disappearance of her sister and her classmates when a surVivor approaches her. The truth of what happened may be darker than anything she imagined.
Movies like Archive 81
Ethan Hawke stars as true-crime writer Ellison Oswald in this terrific, underrated horror film like Archive 81. Oswald is trying to get his career back on track. As such, he moves his family into a home where a gruesome crime was committed. Soon, he discovers footage of the incident and others like it. As he investigates, he realizes there may be a supernatural force behind the deaths. And it may still be in the house.
Drawing from classic paranoid recording-based thrillers like Blowup and The Conversation — with a healthy dose of Hitchockian suspense thrown in — Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi sees a tech worker with agoraphobia venturing from the safety of her home when she hears what sounds like a violent crime recorded by a smart home device. The HBO Max original is a film like Archive 81 in its treatment of recordings as clues in a mystery, and its overall claustrophobic and paranoid mood.
As found footage horror goes, the V/H/S franchise has become a defining example of the genre. A movie like Archive 81 on this front, the first V/H/S film sees a group of criminals hired to steal a videotape from a house. Once inside, they find an old man dead, surrounded by several tapes. The film mostly consists of the contents of those tapes, played as vignettes of horror shorts by different directors.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
A woman paranoid that a cult is conspiring against her in her New York apartment building? Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby has a fair few narrative themes in common with Archive 81. And both titles beg the question: is it really paranoia if they’re genuinely out to get you?
Read: Night Teeth review
There’s something so narratively exciting about archival footage that may hide answers to important questions. Like many of the titles on this list, Censor is a movie like Archive 81 in its exploration of video archives as tools for solving mysteries. In Censor, British film censor Enid thinks she might have found a clue to the disappearance of her sister in one of the “video nasties” she has to watch for work.
The Endless (2017)
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who directed two episodes of Archive 81 and have been tapped to direct season two of Loki, The Endless has a lot in common with the Netflix miniseries. When two brothers receive a videotape in the mail from the commune where they grew up, they decide to head back, but they can’t agree on whether they’re returning to a UFO death cult or a harmless hippie commune.