The Week in Horror: ‘Archive 81’, ‘A Banquet’, ‘Here Before’, + more!

A raft of new horror news just washed up onshore in these, the first few days of 2022! I’ve got details and a trailer for James Wan’s new found-footage Netflix series, a new trailer and release details for Ruth Paxton’s A Banquet, a new film starring Mandy‘s Andrea Riseborough, and a whole lot more.

James Wan dropped a trailer and details about his new found-footage series, Archive 81, for Netflix this week. The series premieres on the streaming service this Friday January 14 and is based on Marc Sollinger and Daniel Powell’s podcast of the same title.

Archive 81 stars Mamoudou Athie (Underwater), Dina Shihabi (Altered Carbon), Martin Donovan (Big Little Lies), Matt McGorry (How To Get Away With Murder), Julia Chan (Katy Keene), Evan Jonigkeit, and Ariana Neal (Hidden Figures). Wan is on as executive producer, and the series is directed by Rebecca Thomas, Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, and Hafiaa Al-Mansour.

In the series, “archivist Dan Turner (Athie) takes a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994, he finds himself reconstructing the work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras (Shihabi) 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.”

I’m a big fan of Sarah Adina Smith and especially her ultra-harrowing 2014 family thriller, The Midnight Swim, so I was excited to hear that Yellow Veil Pictures will be re-releasing the film in the form of both a VOD of the special edition and a collector’s edition Blu-Ray. The home edition is packed with extras and brand new cover art from Polish poster artist Aleksander Walijlewski.

Also included in the home video release:

  • Commentary with Sarah Adina Smith, Aleksa Palladino, Lindsay Burdge, Jennifer Lafleur, and Ross Patridge.
  • Sarah Adina Smith’s 2009 short THE SIRENS
  • Sarah Adina Smith’s 2007 never-before-seen short THE PHOENIX AND THE TURTLE
  • Special Featurette: THE THREE SISTERS; A look back at THE MIDNIGHT SWIM with Sarah Adina Smith
  • Limited Edition Booklet Featuring:
    • Never before seen THE MIDNIGHT SWIM artwork drawn by Sarah Adina Smith
    • Essay from film critic Justine Smith.
    • Essay from culture writer Nicole Cliffe.
  • Reversible cover art and slipcover by Aleksander Walijewski
  • Theatrical Trailer

Yellow Veil’s VOD re-release of The Midnight Swim will be available on January 25. You can preorder the home video edition from Vinegar Syndrome at this link.

Edoardo Vitaletti’s The Last Thing Mary Saw has a brand new trailer this week ahead of it’s release on Shudder on January 20. The film stars Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Rory Culkin (Lords of Chaos), Stefanie Scott (Insidious: Chapter 3) and Judith Roberts (You Were Never Really Here).

The Last Thing That Mary Saw takes place in 1843 New York and tells the tale of Mary (Scott) who is being interrogated about the death of her grandmother. The film jumps back in time to show the events leading up to the incident and the oppressive religious household in which Mary suffers. I caught this at the Fantasia Festival this year and it’s a stirring directorial debut from Vitaletti. Check out the trailer!

Andrea Riseborough (Mandy) already has a busy 2022 ahead, with a starring role in Netflix’s upcoming Texas Chainsaw, as well as a starring role in Stacey Gregg’s new horror Here Before. Saban Films will be releasing the project in limited theatres on February 11, with a VOD release on February 15. Saban’s described the film with the following synopsis:

“Andrea Riseborough is spellbinding as the distraught mother, haunted by the death of her young daughter, who develops an all-consuming obsession over the neighbor’s girl who she believes is the reincarnation of her child. When new neighbors move in, Laura (Riseborough) is awakened from her mundane daily routine of errands and exercise. She becomes transfixed by their young daughter, Megan (astonishing newcomer Niamh Dornan). Megan’s parents Marie (Eileen O’Higgins, Mary Queen of Scots) and Chris (Martin McCann, Killing Bono), initially don’t seem to mind as Laura offers Megan a ride home from school and an invitation to dinner. Her husband Brendon (Jonjo O’Neill, The Queen’s Gambit) grows concerned as his wife’s infatuation with the young girl spirals into increasingly erratic behavior. Eerily, Megan seemingly knows far too many specific details of their family life and displays similar mannerisms of their dead daughter. Is the trauma of losing her child causing Laura to lose grip on reality, or is Megan truly the reincarnation of her daughter?”

Take a look at the trailer for Here Before!

One of the best things I caught at the Toronto International Film Festival this year was Ruth Paxton’s family horror A Banquet, in which “[w]idowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith, Betsey refuses to eat but loses no weight. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs.” 

Indiewire reports that A Banquet will be making it’s way to theatres and digital platforms on February 18 from IFC Midnight, the same day as that other family-related food thriller, Texas Chainsaw. Take a look at the delicious-looking trailer!

Finally, the new Scream movie from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett has already been garnering excellent reviews, and it’s rocketed to one of my most anticipated films of the year. In anticipation of Scream‘s release this week on January 14, Creepy Duck Designs has dropped two sick-looking retro-themed posters, either of which I would be pleased to hang on my walls. Take a look before Ghostface comes back this Friday!

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