A 2020 fantasy television show, Locke & Key is the story of a set of supernatural keys that unlock different realities. It all starts when three siblings move to their father’s ancestral home after his murder. This is an adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s comic book series but the television version fails to contain the original grim and grotesque atmosphere of the comic, writes Sreeja B
LOCKE & Key is a patchy adaption of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s comic book series, similar to many Netflix’s supernatural horror shows. It is a binge worthy show which features the tale of kids growing up in a spooky, magical mansion, which is somewhat enough to make the squeamish viewer hang in there and get hooked onto the plotline; it is a bit sluggish to start, but it is at least headed to the right direction.
The show features the Lockes, a family of five living their best lives in Seattle when a tragedy strikes and the family witnesses the brutal murder of their husband and father. After Rendell Locke dies during an apparent home incursion, shot down by the juvenile psychotic Sam Lesser, the surviving members of the Locke clan relocate to Lovecraft.
In an effort to keep things together, Nina, the surviving wife and mother to Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, packs up and returns to east coast and to her husband’s ancestral home which is originally known as the Key House. Nina Locke believes that her children can begin building new lives for themselves moving past the horrible tragedy that took place in front of their eyes.
This is a show about children plunged into a fantastical but deadly world which they don’t quite comprehend. There are some great notes the show hits that juxtapose the way siblings approach to magic rather naively whilst the villains show us that this is not a Narnia reboot after all.
Bode, the youngest of the Lockes, definitely carried the majority of the brain cells throughout the show. He stumbles across the secrets of Key House: keys, magical and secretive. Having young actors as the main protagonists in a horror series can be risky but, however, in Locke & Key, they work eerily well.
The house conceals numerous dark secrets from its storied past. Chief among them: a collection of magical keys that unlock a variety of amasing and potentially deadly supernatural phenomenon. Bode finds out keys that unlock the mind, which is a physical place and it is different for everyone depending on their personality, past, traumatic events in life et cetera.
Also, for example, when one key is inserted in the keyhole of a door, it becomes a portal to any other door in the world, allowing going to any place the mind wishes to. Another key lets you get inside of your head; your thoughts are exposed right in front of you but in a physical form. The Keys, however, only reveal themselves to children and adults soon forget they exist and even the fantastical things they witnessed.
Over the course of the first season, the Locke children learn about their father, Rendell and his Brother Duncan’s magical trips with the keys when they were growing up in the Key House. Over the subsequent arcs in the series, viewers learn more about the history of Key house which stretches back to revolutionary war and leads up to the present-day. But something dark lingers, something from the past that is trapped and wants the keys for itself; precisely something evil.
Fans of the comic will straight away notice that much of the violence and horror is toned down and the surviving family is far too relaxed and well-adjusted by comparison to the ‘authentic’ trauma. The death of Rendell Locke epitomises, steady and slowly, ordeal and sadness for majority of the episodes and gives audience the sense of grief for the family.
Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke builds up rebelliousness to the character; the emanate shame of being a coward and not being able to save her family but later battles with the fear-monster residing on her mind gives out a great amount of power, courage and connectivity to a normal human being. However, her removal of her fear, which includes her fear of repercussion, led her to make some awful and short-sighted decisions as she is unable to measure possible dangers to her choice of actions.
Evil character check list: merciless, plotted, manipulative, cruel, seductive (especially if female) and most importantly wickedness. Oliveira plays marvelously the character of Dodge; she is formidable adversary for anyone. But the toning down of the violence not only makes the show dull, but also minimises the brutality and wrath of Dodge which somewhat makes her original character go downhill. But the character was somewhat good enough to chew the scenery just enough to be menacing and seemed like a genuine danger at times.
Real people and their sentiments are portrayed; raw emotions, true sadness, grief, and a motive behind bad actions. You will understand that some vulnerable people are controlled by evil and with the hope of making things better, getting what they always wanted -- which is being loved. The plot line is excellent, supernatural mystery with a touch of horror much like the ‘Stranger Things’, and the characters are likable too -- though exasperatingly dense at times, but the show would have progressed even better if the characters had the ability to make good decisions and used the keys strategically.
Locke & Key is highly recommendable to the young individuals who enjoy fantasy or horror stories and are looking for emotionally engaging, thought provoking, and totally original storytelling. It is dazzling, antique, and creepy, while also being young, vivid, and a testament to friendship and family being the greatest weapon against evil.
The casting, cinematography, settings and SFX, and given nearly everything about the show was great, except for the proper writing that went downhill in a slow burn; truly a half-brilliant and half awful story, a mixed feeling. The concept itself was superb but the execution fell flat. The writing was horrendous as it felt like the writers couldn’t think of clever ways to move forward with the story, but the foundation of this show is so incredible that it just keeps the plot going.
If they can turn the screenplay around in the season two, it would be absolutely brilliant.
Sreeja B is a student of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.
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