It’s not often that I find myself familiar with the source material for new shows and movies, so I was surprised when I heard about Netflix’s “Locke and Key.” The show is based off the comics by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez and follows the story of three siblings who move into their father’s childhood home, Keyhouse, in Massachusetts after he’s murdered. At Keyhouse, the siblings find special keys that grant them magical powers and must defend those keys from a mysterious and evil force that’s after them.
This review is written after watching five of the 10 episodes and will contain little to no spoilers.
Netflix’s “Locke and Key,” which premiered on Feb. 7, is a much more teen-friendly adventure than its darker source material. While the comics carried dark tones and relatively gruesome character deaths throughout its pages, the show tends to lighten up its slower scenes with witty humor and character deaths are rewritten to be less grisly.
At the core of “Locke and Key” are Tyler, Kinsey and Bode Locke, played by Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones and Jackson Robert Scott, respectively. Each character is represented well through the writing and acting, and it’s obvious to the audience how each sibling is struggling with trauma and loss over the death of their father, Rendell Locke. While Tyler and Kinsey are both in high school, Tyler struggles with his anger and tries to act as an authoritative figure over his siblings in the absence of their father and Kinsey struggles with controlling her fears, leading to overwhelming anxiety. Bode, who is roughly in late elementary or early middle school age, struggles with trying to find all the keys in an effort to protect his family and do whatever he can to see his father again.
On paper, the premise is sad but the show manages to keep things interesting with twists in every episode. On one hand, new keys are always being found, making you wonder what they’re going to be used for. On the other hand, side characters are constantly revealing more and more of Keyhouse’s and Rendell’s past, leaving viewers to decipher the mystery of what Rendell Locke did with the keys in his youth and why the villain is after them.
Many of the original side characters were rewritten and tweaked to better fit the format of a television series, and it honestly changes these characters for the better. Scot Cavendish (Petrice Jones) is a much more likeable character and love interest than Scot Kavanaugh is in the comics. Rufus Whedon (Coby Bird) is easier to understand as a character in the show, but is just as pure and wholesome as ever. Meanwhile, new characters like Gabe (Griffin Gluck) and Eden (Hallea Jones) introduce the potential for new conflicts, for better or worse.
While the show has a lot of positives, like some beautiful camera work here and there, it does fall short in some areas. In the comics, Kinsey is able to eliminate her sense of fear with the help of one of the keys, which serves to make her a stronger character throughout the story. In the show, however, the scenes with a fearless Kinsey are almost hard to watch. Although the high school drama is understandable, it was borderline cringey when she takes revenge on a school bully with the use of one of the keys. There are a few times in the show when characters make outright dumb choices that make the audience do a double take on what they’re watching.
Despite only watching half of the first season, it’s obvious the show is building up to a climactic season finale against the villain and setting itself up for what will probably be an equally entertaining second season. Whether you’re familiar with the graphic novels or are completely new to the story, “Locke and Key” is a worthy addition to Netflix’s long list of originals and something you should add to your watch list.
Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.