[Warning: The below contains spoilers for Season 1 of Archive 81.]
If you were offered $100,000 to restore some damaged tapes located on a remote property, would you take the job? In the new supernatural horror series Storage 81, Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) said yes, quickly found out that this is not your typical task. Video shot by student Melody Pentrist (Dina Shihabi) and salvaged after the 1994 fire from the Visser apartments reveals its enigmatic tenants to be more than pleasing to the eye.
Dan, whose family apparently died in a house fire, revealed that his late father was also heavily involved. This further motivates him to untangle the web of his past to find out what really happened in Visser and discover his growing connection to Melody. Storage 81, which has James Wan among its executive producers, is the frontrunner for the scariest show of 2022. It features a Baldung sorcerer’s furnace, social occult rituals, another world, and a monster. Nightmare demon named Kaelego.
Rebecca Sonnenshine said: “The show is supposed to be an interesting mystery box for everyone. “It was very dark and a bit scary. It also raises some pretty important questions: How do we believe the things we believe in?… It’s a show that’s very much about faith, art, and identity. But it’s also a little scary.”
We sat down with the presenter for the first time to piece together more of the madness of Season 1, streaming on Netflix.
Here you have the complicated story surrounding the lives of two characters that are somehow intertwined. The way it is presented really draws you in as a viewer.
Rebecca Sonnenshine: This project is definitely different from anything I’ve done before as it is very POV based. We’re in with Dan and Melody, but we’re not spinning the plot. It’s a very intense singular POV.
That really determines a lot of how we structure the episodes and how they end up coming together. We didn’t make much structural modifications during the post process. We have to nail it [during filming] because we wanted it to happen in a very special way that the audience watched along with Dan before diving into Melody’s story and coming back. Try to end each episode with something that brings you to the next: whether it’s a question or a question or something that engages the audience in a hopeful way organically.
There are some deep topics covered as we learn more about Dan and Melody. Among them are trauma and mental health. There are some similarities in what they’ve been through.
Even if it’s the same injury, they can handle it in different ways. Melody’s way of dealing with it is to be sociable, friendly, and have a good face. Dan could back off a bit. They have similar deep traumas about what happened to them. They use different coping strategies, but are still deeply connected when they talk about it. I don’t think either of these characters necessarily hurts the world. They are intrinsic and are boiling within. I’ve always wondered what’s going on inside people. What is that Actually going on? It’s fascinating.
Before the prologue, there is what appears to be random video footage that leads to clues as to what happens in the episode. What’s your reasoning behind?
Those trailers are, in the sense of the series, what we wanted to do since much of this show is about media and what kind of media is captured. There are old tapes lying around everywhere about random things. You can see proof of that on YouTube. All those clips feature references found online that we use as visual and stylistic references. I think it’s an interesting spin of found and archived footage, which you’re not entirely sure what it means until much later in the episode. That is a real openness. They give you an explanation that doesn’t have to come from a character. They are happy to do.
We are all more in our homes right now. All in all, one of the things that can scare us off is the idea of mold. You add another layer to that horror, forcing it to be a demon to our world.
Personally, I am allergic to mold, so mold is a big part of my life. I’ve had a mold allergy shot. That is my enemy. I also find it fascinating by the way it blooms and is associated with specific places, dampness as it appears in the real world. It also has these properties. Mold can also cause hallucinations. To me, this being or organic matter is both God and demon. You have this organic matter, but it’s not the black mold we find in our shower; it is something more geometric or patterned and intentional. If you look under the microscope, I always say it doesn’t look like mold. It is more crystallized. It’s a scary thing and can have both good and bad properties.
In the center is the summoning of Kaelego. What created him?
We had to create Kaelego’s monster very early because we needed to make a statue of him. That was the first thing we actually did. I wanted to create a scary but charming monster. One of the inspirations is this pose Hannibal Lecter Yes. He’ll be looking up at Jodie Foster’s Clarice, tilting his head down and standing still. We also want it to have a divine or regal quality, which is where the crown on his head comes from.
At the end of the season, Dan ventured to this other world to rescue Melody. Instead, Dan seems to be stuck there while Melody turns back even as Samuel (Evan Jonigkeit) grabs her. Why didn’t he go over there too?
I won’t count him out. It’s definitely open-ended. In many ways, we wanted a really big crime-solving tool. I would say keep watching.
What are some other things you would like to explore in Part 2? There are many unanswered questions.
On a personal level to the characters, they’re both on this quest to find out who they really are and who their parents really are. They find out, but what are you going to do with that? This is the emotional setup for another season. There are answers that come with good and bad. The fallout from that is something to explore. Also, how does Dan go back to the time he was supposed to be in? Everything we mentioned and thought, “Is that a clue?” It’s correct. Anything you can ask if it’s an easter egg – yes.
Storage 81, Season 1, Stream Now, Netflix
https://www.tvinsider.com/1028179/archive-81-season-1-finale-explained-season-2/ ‘Archive 81’ Showrunner Unpacks Complex & Terrifying First Season