Netflix’s New #1 Show Is an Intense Psychological Thriller Surrounding a Demonic Cult

Netflix sure knows how to draw us in. The streaming platform recently released a brand-new show called Archive 81, which follows an archivist (played by Mamoudou Athie) who undertakes a project restoring damaged videotapes from the mid-’90s. However, when he comes across footage of a student (Dina Shihabi) who investigated a mysterious, demonic cult, he becomes obsessed with her work and desperately attempts to find out what happened to her.

In a matter of days, the psychological thriller series has jumped into the number-one spot on Netflix's list of most-watched shows (sorry, Cheer). It is currently sitting above other popular Netflix originals like Too Hot to Handle, Cobra Kai and Stay Close.

Archive 81 is based on a popular fictional podcast of the same name, which is currently in its third season. However, the series is only loosely inspired by the first season of the podcast.

In the trailer, we see all the perfect elements set up for horror to ensue. As Athie's character, Dan, begins restoring the tapes, he is told they were rescued from a fire. And because they're so fragile, they can't be moved, forcing Dan to complete his work at a remote research facility.

“Creating this archive, putting this puzzle together—well, it would mean the world to everyone who lost someone in that fire,” Dan is told. But little does he know the terrors that await him.

Along with Athie and Shihabi, the series stars Evan Jonigkeit (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Julia Chan (Silent House), Ariana Neal (Fruitvale Station), Matt McGorry (Orange Is the New Black) and Martin Donovan (Tenet).

All eight episodes are now available to stream on Netflix. We know what we're binge-watching this weekend.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...