Locke & Key S1
IMDb rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 78%
Fans of the horror Locke & Key comics have awaited the Netflix adaption with trepidation: the series contains some wild storylines that mostly take place within the familiar walls of a standard-issue “scary movie” Gothic mansion, before barrelling into trippy, surreal narratives that anyone who made it to the third and final season of Legion will appreciate. The comic format suits this kind of hoppity-skip style of storytelling, especially when they’re brought to life by Chilean comic book artist Gabriel Rodriguez. But how would this translate on screen?
It seems almost unfair to mention it at this point in his career, but Locke & Key author Joe Hill is the son of god-Emperor of commercial horror Stephen King. He has authored several bestselling novels in the same genre, like Horns (made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe), NOS4R2 (also in production), and The Fireman. And now Netflix has deep-dived into his earlier catalogue to pick up the Locke & Key comics, which ran from 2008-2013. You could say that Joe Hill grew up on the mean streets of horror.
Locke & Key is about three siblings and their mother who move into the family ancestral home, Keyhouse, after their father Rendell Locke is murdered. They’re looking for a fresh start, but what they find instead are magical keys, each with its own unique power.
The youngest Locke sibling, Bode, you’ll recognise as doomed Georgie from IT. He is especially attuned to the power of the keys and has a knack for finding them. His sister Kinsey is the quiet, artistic type who is befriended by the school oddballs – yes, another YA trope you’ll recognise. Her brother Tyler is the popular jock who secretly has a heart of gold.
It sounds like you’ve seen all this before, and you have, but Locke & Key injects enough fresh ideas to keep you hooked. What seems like a down-the-rabbit-hole adventure because more and more interesting with each episode, and with showrunners from Bates Motel and The Haunting of Hill House on the production crew, you can safely expect the unexpected from Season 1 of Locke & Key.