Locke & Key – Season 1

Rating:

Main Cast: Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones

Developed for TV by: Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite

Based on: Comics by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Why? Why didn’t I watch Locke & Key the instant it came out on Netflix? I kept putting it off, thinking that YA fantasy was something that could wait. Or that it wasn’t really in my wheelhouse, or some other foolishness. I was so wrong!

Locke & Key, based on a comic series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, is all about the Locke family. Mom Nina (Darby Stanbridge), elder son Tyler (Connor Jessup), daughter Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and younger son Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) move to Key House in Massachusetts following the death of family patriarch Rendell (played in flashback by Bill Heck). Rendell and his brother Duncan (Aaron Ashmore) grew up in Key House, an enormous old country estate house outside the town of Matheson.

Nina and the kids have returned to start fresh. Nina likes the idea of feeling close to Rendell by living in his childhood home. The kids are think the whole move is a huge mistake.

It turns out that they’re all right, to a degree. Key House has a lot of secrets, most of them reserved for the kids. There’s magic afoot in this old family estate! And as we know, it isn’t magic if it doesn’t come with A LOT of dangers to counteract any moments of fun. This is Joe Hill, after all.

The bulk of this first season has the kids and to a lesser extent some of the adults learning about Key House and its past. New friends are made, enlarging the cast, and adventures are undertaken. The bad guy is revealed early on, and is a very worthy foe.

I really enjoyed the entire first season of Locke & Key. The premise is both familiar and novel enough to be interesting, putting a terrific twist on a classic haunted house. The performances are solid, and our connection with the characters improves with each episode.

The visual effects are pretty fantastic and used sparingly, which makes them much more effective. The basic layout of the house and grounds feels just slightly out of balance, exactly as it should.

Locke & Key was definitely written for a young adult audience, but it’s just as entertaining for adults with an affinity for horror/fantasy. This brand of fantasy thriller is not as scary on the surface as traditional horror, but the implications of some of the magic are impressive in their complexity. Overall, Locke & Key gets a solid four stars. It would be five but for a few areas that are too teenage for me (and I suspect a lot of adults). I’m looking forward to seasons two and three, which are already in the works.

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