Archive 81

When archivist Dan Turner takes a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994, he finds himself reconstructing the work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras and her investigation into a dangerous cult. As Dan is drawn into Melody’s story, he becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying end she met 25 years ago. – IMDb

This TV-show is amazing, I absolutely loved it. First of all, I had no idea that nowadays people would be interested in restoring old tapes. I googled “restoring old tapes”, the amount of results that appeared surprised me. Watching Dan working his magic in Archive 81, was hypnotic. Granted, it was shot in a way that I looked like eye candy. I think that I would have really liked this job.

The videotapes Dan needs to restore, were shot at the Visser in the 90’s. The decade that gems like Twin Peaks and the X-files were created. Archive 81 belongs on that same shelf to me. I think that the reason why I love this TV-show this much is because so many boxes are checked for me. 

Imagine taking on a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes in a remote location where there is absolutely no connection, and no way to get in contact with anyone but your shady employer. Things start to happen, and none can be explained scientifically. All you know is that it’s real. If I would have been in Dans’ shoes, I would have gone insane.

I think that this concept mixed with Cthulhu-esque elements like alternate timelines, comets, some otherworldly intoxicating mould, a cult who worships a demon / god named Kaelego,… works like a charm on me. 

Archive 81 is based on a podcast with the same name so I started researching about Kaelego, hoping I would stumble on some ancient historical facts. Of course, like expected, it’s pure fiction (one can only dream). However, I did read an interesting article on Den of Geek about the deity / demon Kaelego, the comets, the Vos Society, the Baldung witches, the Otherworld,… All I can say is that I’m awestruck by the world they’ve created.

There are many references to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The main character’s name is Dan T. (Dante) and he’s being taken on a journey with a man named Virgil (Dante’s guide). I still can’t believe I’ve read those books one day though, it’s not exactly light reading.

The music Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow created for the show is haunting. It crawls under your skin and gives a dark and intense vibe to the show. You feel something building up, like they’re trying to create a rift between two worlds. It’s daunting and tense. It reminds me a lot of Eyes Wide Shut, The Lords of Salem, and Twin Peaks.

There are only a few jump scares in the entire first season, but it weren’t those that scared the living hell out of me. This show is more about a lingering feeling of eeriness / creepiness which creates a tense atmosphere. I absolutely love this kind of thing, and I was sad to hear that Netflix cancelled the show without giving any reason. Regardless, I still don’t give up hope that it’ll be renewed one day.

Annabelle

A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists. – Imdb

Throughout the entire movie I couldn’t stop but think that Annabelle is one hell of creepy and ugly doll! I really wonder why people would to want to buy this horrific looking thing. Now that I got this of my chest, here’s what I think about the movie…

With the release of Annabelle 2, I remembered never having watched the first one. Blasphemy! I kind of like all movies that were inspired on the Ed & Lorraine Warren case files. I don’t know why, but it has some really creepy vibe around it. Until this day, Annabelle, the curse of the devil doll, is still housed in the Warrens’ occult museum. How creepy is that?

Anyway, the movie in itself started off slow. It had a great opening scene with satanic cultists invading the home of a young couple (Mia & John). Yet, the beginning of the movie remained pretty mild with the typical haunted house occurrences like doors that close by themselves,… So, until that moment I didn’t really feel a real threat. Later on, however, Mia goes down the basement on a stormy night and that’s where things start to get pretty creepy!

As it is, I liked this movie more than I thought I would. I wasn’t expecting too much, since I hated how the Annabelle doll looked and I can’t imagine anyone wanting one like it in their house. However, the film managed to transcend “the boring haunted doll cliché” and actually created genuine scares towards the end of the film. Unlike a lot of horror movies, with their puzzling half and half ending, this one had a decent and believable end. Thumbs up for that!

On a side note: the actress that plays Mia, is named Annabelle Wallis in real life. Yes, I’m a sucker for details like that ;-p

In my opinion, “Annabelle” is, until now, the best movie we’ve watched during our 2017 Halloween holidays. Definitely worth the watch! I’m even looking forward to see what the second movie is about.

The Void

The Void is about a police officer that delivers a man, who seems to be drunk and hurt, to a remote hospital. Soon, very strange and violent events take place, including the appearance of mysterious hooded figures.

The movie isn’t that bad, it’s a bit between Hellraiser and The Thing. Unfortunately, the clunky acting and the slow pacing ruined what could have been a great movie.

The film has bags of atmosphere and sense of dread, but with zero explanation for the events that unfold. At some point, I started to feel restless and itchy in my couch, which means that there wasn’t enough action involved, and I lost interest.

I’m always up for a bit of a mystery but, in the end, who are the hooded people outside the hospital? No idea! Why are people turning into monsters? No idea! Where does the strange triangular gateway lead to? No idea! It feels like once again they had a great idea for a story, but no clue on how to realize a satisfying ending.

My final verdict: worth the watch but, without any expectations, and most certainly not for a big horror night!

The Invitation

This movie is very well rated everywhere on the “great horror websites”, it’s a trap! I’m gonna spoil this one and I do it for your own good: You have to assist to an old friend reunion, a very depressive one. The kind of dinner I’d dread to be invited to, where people talk about their depression, the way they fought it, they play stupid games, laugh and cry,… The only thing that makes you keep watching it is the feeling that something bad is about to happen. And guess what, it happens (what a shock), but, to see it, you have to go through a solid hour of depressive boredom.

I’d advise you to save your evening and fast forward this movie to the end… Unfortunately, even the final scene isn’t that good. Better skip the entire movie and watch something else.

Oh, and I forgot, that woman on the picture chooses, as a way to commit suicide, to shoot herself in the belly. Just as you think that it can’t get worse…

The Veil

The Veil is about a religious cult that has committed mass suicide. Twenty Five years later, the lone survivor of this tragedy returns to the scene with a documentary crew in tow.

This may not be the best movie I’ve ever watched, but it remains one of the best ones I’ve watched during these Easter holidays. Good for a Saturday eve, but don’t expect too much. It’s a unique story since there aren’t that many movies out there about scary cults. The ambience builds up nicely throughout the movie and there are some nice plot twists towards the end. Also, Thomas Jane was quite convincing as a creepy cult leader. I definitely can recommend this one.

My advise is to ignore the bad reviews and give this movie a shot. Who would want to watch an Oscar-worthy horror movie anyway?