There are many things I like in this world and a few I absolutely love. The IDW comic series, Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez easily falls into the latter category. With an original tale of terror created by a brilliant duo who have their roots in horror, the comic series was something to behold. Not only did it capture your imagination but played with it a bit before surprising you again and again. When the series ended I was saddened but, using the Time shift Key, I quickly returned to the beginning and started the journey again with the Locke family.
In 2010 it was announced that the comic series had been picked up as a new television series that was planned for Fox. Elated I anxiously waited for it’s release only to discover that it was cancelled prior to airing. Figuring it would never happen I went back to my comics and forgot about the show that never was. A few years later the series was considered again as a Hulu original but, once again the fates were playing with us only to have it snatched away no sooner had it been announced.
This year however the Omega Door has been opened and the story of the Locke family is finally being told via the Netflix streaming service. Of course, I sat down with my wife and we devoured the ten episode season over a weekend only to rediscover the magic in the Key House once again.
After the murder of Rendell Locke, The remaining members of the Locke family move into Rendell’s ancestral home, The Key House, to recuperate and learn more about their late family member. While there, a dark secret is exposed revealing that the Key House has magical Keys hidden throughout, each giving the user unique powers that can be used for ill or good. The three children, Bode, Kinsey and Tyler, soon discover that a malevolent power longs for possession of these magical keys and will stop at nothing to destroy the Locke family to claim them for it’s own.
The tale, spread across ten episodes, tells the story of mysterious histories, forgotten memories, a search for self and, of course, magical keys. From the onset you are introduced to a world of enchantment that promises that nothing is sacred and no one is safe. This is not a fantasy land however, it is very much a story that takes place in our own world in a town that is kissed by a dark and powerful sorcery. Following the Locke Family, each episode builds into the next telling a complete narrative with some rather interesting twists and turns.
The family is composed of Matriarch Nina Locke (Darby Stanchfield), Elder Brother Tyler Locke (Conner Jessup), Sister Kinsey Locke (Emilia Jones) and younger brother Bode Locke played by Jackson Robert Scott of IT fame. Each actor completely own their individual roles creating a cohesive and genuine family. It is common for most television series to suffer from the cast learning their characters but none of that is apparent here. From the onset the Locke family feel like an actual family and have a very real chemistry that is hard to fake. This tight knit feeling is only enhanced as the Locke family begin to begin to interact with the surrounding town while dealing with the secrets locked in Key House.
Supporting the family is a substantial cast of characters that manage to embody the fictional town of Matheson with a life of it’s own. Not since Buffy’s Sunnydale have I encountered a place this believable while being juxtaposed to a litany of spooks and terrors. From this series version of the Scooby Gang known in Locke & Key as ‘the Savini’s‘ (named after the famous special effects artist) to the former friends of Rendell Locke himself; there is not a bad actor to be seen. The real standout among the denizens of Matheson, however, is the antagonist known initially as ‘the echo‘ played by the dark and lovely Laysla De Oliveria. Every horror tale needs a sinister antagonist and Laysla manages to embody the ominous tone of this series while also somehow exuding a sensual aura. Her lovely menacing demeanor coupled with the Locke Family’s genuine familial feel really makes this series something special.
With a stunning cast and brilliant story, the only thing that could go wrong for a series like this is bad pacing and a bad script. Thankfully, Locke & Key suffers from neither of these ailments providing a very well paced and mostly even production. Sure there are a few minor hiccups here and there but nothing that will pull viewers from the narrative or any missteps that ruin the overall experience of the series. This careful balance is accomplished with a talented range of Directors and produces who ensure that no episode feels out of place or just tacked on for time.
While the series is indeed a horror series, rest assured it is one of the most accessible horror series currently available. This is not the nightmare fest that was the Haunting of Hill House or even the demon filled Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but falls somewhere closer to that of Stranger Things without the crutch of nostalgia keeping it on it’s feet. Unlike it’s brutal comic book origin, this series manages to remain creepy and fun without relying on unrestrained violence or overly disturbing imagery. That being said I was pleased that this this adaptation managed to honor the tone and themes of the much darker comic book story while never feeling completely beholden to the source material. It is rare for a live action series of any kind to perfectly capture the spirit of it’s source material while allowing itself some freedoms to express it’s own voice but Locke & Key does so in spades.
Produced and developed by the famous Carlton Cuse and based on a comic series by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke and Key is simply a triumph of modern streaming television. This series sets a bar for non-broadcast television that will be very tough to exceed let alone meet. With each episode I continually found wanting to savor each moment so that it would last but was ultimately unable to stop from binging the season over the course of a weekend. I can only hope that we get to see more of Key House and the Locke family for many seasons to come. Do yourself a favor, order out, pour yourself a drink and cuddle up on the couch for this incredible new Netflix series. Trust me, you will not be dissapointed.
Season One of Locke & Key is currently streaming on Netflix. If you like the series you should also give the comics a try. Trust me, they are pretty spectacular.
Thanks for reading!
Late To The Game 2/10/2020
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