Review: Locke & Key

Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, and Jackson Robert Scott in Locke & Key

Locke & Key is a Netflix series based on graphic novels written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez and published by IDW Publishing. It’s full of magic keys and horror-lite situations involving a family in an old mysterious house.

I was attracted to Locke & Key by the terrific Twitter posts about it from Sherri Saum, who played Ellie. Ellie was a longtime resident of the town and an old friend of Rendell Locke (Bill Heck), who lived in the house years ago.

But I’m getting ahead of the story. Rendell was kill by an insane student named Sam (Thomas Mitchell Barnet) where the family lived in Seattle. Even though it was Sam who did it, everyone in the family felt some burden of guilt about Rendell’s death.

Darby Stanchfield in Locke & Key

Nina (Darby Stanchfield), the mom, decided to move the family across the country to Massachusetts to live in Rendell’s ancient and creepy old family home.

The kids, Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) went reluctantly. The one bright spot about living there was the frequent visits from their Uncle Duncan (Aaron Ashmore). By the end of 10 episodes, they decided maybe they liked the place.

Laysla De Oliveira in Locke & Key
Like your demons sexy and hypnotic? Check.

Almost immediately young Bode (pronouced like Bodhi) noticed strange things about the house. Bode accidentally loosed a demon creature named Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira) from the well house. Bode was the first one to begin finding keys.

Jackson Robert Scott in Locke & Key
What does this magic key do?

Dodge wanted the keys for her own reasons. But they had to be given to her by the person who found it. Wisely, none of the Locke children were about to give up the keys.

Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones in Locke & Key

Soon Tyler and Kinsey could also hear the strange whisperings that lead you to a key. They found keys that could take you anywhere, turn you into a ghost, make people obey your commands, show you the insides of your own head, and more. The Omega key was the crucial one in the drama, especially the climactic events of the season. That key opened the demonic door. Wikipedia lists all the keys, even some that didn’t make it out of the comic books yet.

The adults couldn’t remember things caused by the keys. But the teens and Bode could. Soon they enlisted their new pals from school to help with the mysteries. Scot (Petrice Jones), Gabe (Griffin Gluck), and Eden (Hallea Jones) became Kinsey’s friends because they all worked on a film together. Tyler developed a crush on Jackie (Genevieve Kang). Bode befriended Ellie’s son Rufus (Coby Bird). All of them eventually became embroiled in the drama to defeat the demon.

I haven’t seen a second season announced yet, but the finale of season one cries out for more. Ellie was missing, more demons were running about than ever, and life was about to get even more complicated. My advice is if you think a character is sketchy, trust your instincts.

Locke & Key is no Haunting of Hill House, even though superficially it bears some resemblance. It was less scary, less horrifying, and less creepy. I don’t know the actual rating for Locke & Key, but I’m guessing it’s PG. The horror is mild, the teen kissing is mild, and the special effects are mild. That means a wider and younger audience can appreciate Locke & Key.

One thing that was equal to any other series you can name was the acting. I was impressed by Connor Jessup, but everyone did well.

Locke & Key poster

The only woman director was Dawn Wilkinson, who directed 2 episodes. But several women were in the writers room.

Have a look at the trailer.

Are you a fan of the graphic novels or have you watched this Netflix series? What did you think of it?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

Comments are appreciated!