Review- Locke and Key
Locke and Key is the latest effort in Netflix originals. After a decade of trying, the show was finally picked up and put into motion. A fantasy-horror adapted from a comic series by Joe Hill that carries an impressive fandom.
From the get-go, Locke and Key is shrouded in mystery. Within a few minutes, we have vague conversations, strange drawings, and a man driving a key directly into his chest before exploding in fiery glory. The opening scenes are perfect pace setters as the series is an endless array of mysterious happenings that frantically throw curveballs in every direction.
Our main characters are three children who we're first introduced to being hauled across the country by their mother, Nina Locke, to move into Key House, following the loss of their father.
Keye House is clearly shown in a negative light by telling the audience how the father had grown dubious of it himself. Once there, the real peculiarity doesn't take long to get going, and before you know it, the Locke kids are putting keys into their necks and walking around in each other's minds and teleporting by the turn of a key.
From the beginning, Netflix's involvement is evident. Instead of getting a completely fresh and original show, Locke and Key takes elements from Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, and Stranger Things.
It has original moments, but there are times where it feels like a rehash of a show I have already seen. The main cast is a mass of cliche, and you won't find anything extraordinarily new in them either. Even the supporting characters are exactly what you'd expect from a young adult fantasy-horror.
Bode is the over-imaginative kid who listens to the embodiment of an echo to help him discover keys that do numerous magical things by following the whispers in Key House. Obviously, everybody puts Bode's mystical rants down to being a kid with a vivid imagination. Honestly, this cliche has been so overused, I found myself rolling my eyes at the very idea. Alongside Bode, his brother Tyler is the party animal, a too cool for school jock who is clearly trying his best to compress his demons, yet lashes out and makes mistake after mistake.
The sister Kinsey is the troubled, quiet girl who slowly emerges out of her shell as the show rolls on. As I said, these are the characters you'd expect to see, but it doesn't have a significant enough effect to ruin the show entirely.
Locke and Key, at many times, seems to be a show attuned to an algorithm intended to help shows achieve ultimate success. This is made evident from even the little things such as music choices and the way certain scenes are shot. The score seems awfully generic in places and better music choices would have aided certain scenes. The story of the keys providing supernatural adventures has endless potential, and even though I enjoyed Locke and Key, there is plenty of room for improvement.
It feels like a missed opportunity to amp up the horror halfway through the series. There were a few jump scares but it also produced feeble attempts at scaring the audience.
*The following contains major spoilers*
As for the story, it progresses nicely, once the creepy lady turns out to reveal herself as the main villain and the siblings start believing Bode, the show really gets rolling. The children find a new key almost every episode, and this is a smart way to keep the audience locked in as it keeps the curiosity sharp.
Specific keys also have more potential than initially believed, and again, the many questions the show provides is helpful to keep the audience watching. The head key, for example, allows anybody to step into their own minds and explore their memories and fears. Giving everybody a different mind-door was a nice touch and gave us an insight into the characters using the key. Sometimes, it wasn't even a door, Bode has a trunk that leads directly into a perfect representation of a child's mind.
Beyond exploring the mind, however, Tyler discovered how tossing books into his mind-door would mean he retains all the information from the book. Kinsey lures her fear out of her mind before killing it, then burying it in the woods and becoming fearless. Locke and Key do a superb job at creating genuine moments of shock, leaving the audience to believe anything could happen next.
The villain of the show is played mostly by Laysla De Oliveira, and her name isn't actually, 'creepy lady' although I think I prefer it to her actual name 'Dodge.' Her objective of getting the head key to wander around in some lady's mind to find the location of another key is actually the entire plot of the show. There are holes in how she achieves this, but the build to the final battle is well-paced. Dodge gains control of the shadows using a shadow crown and shadow key combination before tricking the Locke children to opening a mysterious door in the sea caves.
We're never actually told what we see behind the door other than it is a place where demons roam. However, I think this is part of the suspense for future seasons. Dodge was an escapee from beyond the door, and the season ends with the good old fashion- they thought they won, but they didn't scenario, with Dodge and the new demon sitting in a diner smiling at each other. Dodge could have and should have evoked more fear than she did and even at her darkest, there was plenty of light shining through.
Throughout the show, the children gather so many tools and have so much power at their disposal to use it mostly for pranks and one-time experiments. The ballerina key was great in theory, a key once placed into a music box allows the person who turned the key to control everybody with simple voice commands. The problem with this is when in dire situations, it was not used.
Locke and Key is a show worth watching. More so, it is suited to the TV binge generation, and once you start watching, it's going to be hard to stop. Sure it suffers from heavy bouts of plot convenience and frequent moments of terrible, uneducated decision making, but overall, it is an enjoyable experience if not taken too seriously.
It is the classic coming together tale of three siblings who embark on a supernatural quest and, by the end of it, rest on the same page, better and stronger. You might have come across a similar show before, and you may already know the characters before the end of episode one, but the keys are truly the key to the show.
The potential is endless, and having keys capable of such magical things helps strengthen the belief that this a show that will keep you guessing. Season two seems obvious at this stage and I for one, am interested to see where they take us next.