It’s a great time for comic fans. Locke & Key is another comic book-based series that landed on Netflix last week. The comic is written by novelist Joe Hill. It is a science fiction horror story about a mysterious house and its keys that possess different magical powers. Although a success, the comic series has ended and has now been reborn as a Netflix 10 Episode series. The Netflix series is about three siblings and their mother moving into a mysterious house after their father dies unexpectedly. I haven’t finished the series yet, but here are my thoughts on the first half and whether the series is worth a watch.
The story begins with the remains of the Locke family moving from Seattle to Massachusetts into their recently deceased father’s old home. The house needs some fixing up, and the family is clearly still dealing with the loss of their father as they settle in. Although there’s not much immediately supernatural or scary, there is a dark tone overall. The three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, try to adapt to a new school and new friends while their mother tries to hold the family together. The first episode really introduces us to the family and their unique living situation. We get to see their pain and current state, so we understand all the growth and regression that is to come. Though it doesn’t really sell the best aspects of the show, the first installment was intriguing enough to get me to the second. This is where the supernatural mystery really begins to pick up and only continues to build from there.
The characters all feel very genuine. They are nicely built and well-acted. They develop over time, and we really get to notice the changes as the story progresses. No matter how good the supernatural aspect is, the characters are who we follow around when the ghosts or monsters are gone. I quickly came to like and empathize with all three children. Their mother is not as easy to connect with, but I believe that is because her story is still unraveling deeper into the series. Even the minor characters feel comfortable and play their parts well. Very little of the characterization or dialogue feels forced. It’s good to have solid, recognizable ground to stand on, so when the supernatural curtain lifts, you can enjoy the magic.
The strength of the show lies in the mystery and storytelling. There is a fantasy aspect with a larger world and wonder that almost moves into Harry Potter territory, but this is merely a bonus. I continue to watch the show to learn more about the house, what happened in the past, and what else the keys can do. There are both supernatural and natural mysteries slowly being unraveled at every turn. It’s obvious the two intertwine, but they are kept somewhat separate as the children deal with one set of problems, and their mother deals with another seemingly less magical. There are some scares, but I would categorize the series more as a supernatural mystery.
The show moves at an excellent pace. Four or five different stories are being told because each family member is going through their own experience. Jumping in between the various characters’ stories and the multiple mysteries keeps each scene fresh. There’s no time to get bored as we are always learning more or catching up with someone else’s world. Making every scene count again plays into compelling writing and effective storytelling. It makes the show stand out, as it’s got more going on then some of its peers. I may not want to watch a 50-minute chapter about a teenage girl dealing with drama and supernatural mystery; the way the show is written, I don’t have to.
I wanted to review the show before I finished it so there wouldn’t be any place for spoilers. I also wanted to get a good idea of the show’s quality and watchability rather than just a satisfying ending. My recent Review of and dissatisfaction with October Faction still stand after watching past its first episode. Locke & Key unexpectedly makes up for that disappointment, though, as I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. When it comes down to it, superior writing, thorough storytelling, and character development make Locke & Key a great show. It would be watchable for almost the whole family. There is some language, a few spooky or adult scenes, and some things that would have to be explained to a younger audience. Still, otherwise, there is a little something for everyone. I give Locke & Key 4 out of 5 magical keys and recommend it for fans of Haunting of Hill House, Stranger Things, and Harry Potter.