Does Locke & Key Match Its Pedigree?
Having not been familiar with the work of Joe Hill, I didn’t know what to expect with Locke & Key the show. Certainly, the intro, with its hyper obsession with keys, caught my interest, but cool ideas for shows an intro does not make.
But I’m pleased to report that we have here a genuinely fun idea for a series, that handles horror well, and seems to have a good progressing plot.
If I had to describe Locke & Key, I’d call it a naturally darker take on something like Coraline or Narnia. The horror aspect of the concept is taken to a much fuller place. It also has just a little Warehouse 13 to it, with the keys being uniquely powered in different ways.
Locke & Key Manages Both Horror and Whimsy
And that’s what the show does best: the keys. They have a very fairy tale logic to each of them, with hard rules seemingly to how they work and what they do. Even each one has its own keyhole, or thing you put it in, which adds more fun to it.
I’m sick of powered characters, this is better. This is magic tools that anyone can have, use, steal, and pass around. Keeping track of who has what and what they can do with it adds a level of intrigue to the show. If the plot gets more directly confrontational, they could even have showdowns based around who has what magic key.
The Keys Of Locke & Key Are by Far The Best Part
But what the show doesn’t do as well, is the exact same thing I complained about in October Faction. Sure, the trauma plays a much bigger part in the plot here, and really informs certain moments, but I am watching a show about magic keys to see people do cool stuff with magic keys. The cutbacks to the frankly horrific trauma moment are good until they do it for the tenth or so time. If they cut maybe half of the sheer sad moments, focused less on the mom when she’s not actively trying to solve a mystery, then this would have the correct level of breezy pacing.
I realize that up until now adaptations of books into movies leave too much out, but I’d argue stretching these adaption shows to make them fill a season is equally irritating. I know we live in “binge culture,” regarding media, but people only have so much time.
Locke & Key Should Have More Focus On Keys
But, when Locke & Key is good, it’s very good. The child acting leaves something to be desired, yeah, but the rest of it, the villain being ruthless, the way keys are in interesting or strange places, the personality of the house—that’s all wonderful. I don’t usually feel the need to comment on a soundtrack, but Locke and Key throws out enough good songs that some made it on my personal playlist.
They nail the tone.
The camerawork and editing just lend an energy to this series that sets it apart in a good way, and though the key moments are too infrequent, I’m certainly willing to watch more to see more keys and applications of them.
If you have the time and want something equally dark and whimsical in a way that seemingly only old children’s books manage, then this is a show worth unlocking for watching.
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