• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 14, 2022
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Saloni Gajjar
    Jan 13, 2022
    83
    Like most horror series and movies, Archive 81 requires some suspension of disbelief, but just give it time and it will slowly rope in the non-genre fans with its poignant specificity and drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Lorraine Ali
    Jan 14, 2022
    80
    “Archive 81” is amateurish in spots, and not in a self-aware way. .. But the long-haul effects of “Archive 81” are worth the time spent on this series. Unlike many a mystery streamer, there is a satisfying payoff at the end of the analog mystery.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 14, 2022
    80
    "Archive 81," the Netflix series "loosely inspired" by the podcast of the same name, is a worthy addition to the catalog. ... The showrunner, Rebecca Sonnenshine, makes the right move. The casting is first rate. ... Are there a lot of narratives at work in "Archive 81"? Yes, but think of them as tentacles.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jan 11, 2022
    80
    At its best, “Archive 81” taps into that sense that there’s something truly malevolent hiding in plain sight. ... When the writing has to disappointingly pull back from the questions to provide answers in the final pair of episodes, it’s less powerful, but the journey has been satisfying enough by then that it can be forgiven, and the finale takes some risks that should be divisive.
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 11, 2022
    80
    “Archive 81” starts strong with creepy atmospherics, gets a little confusing in its mythology around episode six but then clears everything up in time for a cliffhanger in the eighth episode.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 18, 2022
    75
    It’s fun to check out a few of the first-season “Archive 81″ podcast episodes, just to see where and how the basics have been amplified, revised, imagined for the eyes as well as the ears. Shihabi and Athie, their eyes full of dread and wonder, are reason enough to watch.
  7. Reviewed by: R. Colin Tait
    Jan 14, 2022
    75
    “Archive 81” is not especially bloody, nor does it contain many jump scares. It is the lack of these elements, and the thought that they could happen at any time, that the show excels at.
  8. Reviewed by: Chris Vognar
    Jan 11, 2022
    75
    Based on a podcast of the same name, “Archive 81” uses old ingredients to yield something that feels fresh and new. So stick around. Your patience will be rewarded.
  9. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jan 11, 2022
    72
    The brisk, tense, efficiently told first episode gives way to later installments filled with padded-out incidents, red herrings, and dead ends. Anyone hooked by the beginning won't be let down by the end, and the mood of unflagging dread helps keep the suspense high even when the story hits a lull. Just be prepared for some narrative dry stretches along the way.
  10. Reviewed by: Joel Keller
    Jan 14, 2022
    70
    We’re still wondering if Archive 81 can effectively put its timelines together into a coherent thriller. But it’s off to a promising start, due to good performances from both Athie and Shihabi.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 14, 2022
    70
    "Archive 81" draws upon very old horror themes, including whether seeing is really believing, and how evil might be hiding in plain view. Like the videotapes themselves, there are glitches along the way, but unlike some recent entries in this genre (hello, "Brand New Cherry Flavor"), not enough of them to provoke hitting the "eject" button.
  12. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Jan 13, 2022
    70
    Even if I called the last couple of Archive 81 episodes silly, the series builds pretty well. By the second or third episode, you’ll probably have figured out the key points of what’s going on and probably will have identified a movie, TV show or book that did the same thing better. By an episode or two later, you’ll probably see what the shape of the rest of the season is and then by the cliffhanger in the finale, you’ll be curious where a follow-up season would go.
  13. 70
    Generously, this bounty could be viewed as a love letter to the genre. In execution, though, Archive 81 somewhat lacks a prevailing identity of its own, even as it masters slow-burning dread.
  14. Reviewed by: Lucy Mangan
    Jan 13, 2022
    60
    As with most series of this nature, it’s better watched over time rather than binged all at once, when the leaps of faith required to get past various illogicalities and inconsistencies can become too exhausting. It’s one of those programmes where you are best advised to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
  15. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Jan 11, 2022
    60
    With all that said, the trappings are often good fun and the mood conjured is effectively creepy. “Archive 81” will keep core genre fans satisfied, but it’s hard not to feel like a tighter version more committed to a vision beyond being all-over-the-place might break out in a bigger way.
  16. Reviewed by: Steve Greene
    Jan 14, 2022
    58
    It’s not that the show would be better if it withheld more, but most of the steps building the world of “Archive 81” outward are done in a way that feels more obligatory than efficient.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 3 out of 21
  1. Jan 22, 2022
    8
    Kept me engaged, and looks like a great start to a mind bending show. Great performances all around, has left me with a general sense ofKept me engaged, and looks like a great start to a mind bending show. Great performances all around, has left me with a general sense of unease and that's the kind of thriller I want. Kudos. Full Review »
  2. Jan 16, 2022
    8
    Being a fan of the original Podcast material I can say there are some things I did not like about the TV adaptation but also do appreciate howBeing a fan of the original Podcast material I can say there are some things I did not like about the TV adaptation but also do appreciate how certain aspects were excluded. Although the ending of the season has left me unimpressed with the direction they took with the show. That's my personal take but the show was a rollercoaster ride, would recommend. Full Review »
  3. Jan 15, 2022
    2
    The only horror is that this was actually made, this terrible series could been under two hours. Skip to last episode and even that isThe only horror is that this was actually made, this terrible series could been under two hours. Skip to last episode and even that is drowning in convoluted mystery and innuendos. Full Review »