Review: Locke & Key

Arnojya Shree discusses whether Netflix's supernatural drama Locke and Key is a lock for the streaming platform

Arnojya Shree
24th February 2020
Credit: Netflix, IMDb
For someone who is an obsessive fan of magical realism, supernatural drama is a near-amazing neighbour. The new Netflix release Locke & Key secures its place within this genre but remains insufficient in fully embodying its tropes. 

Adapted from a comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, it follows the story of Tyler, Kinsey and Bode Locke who have just shifted to Matheson following their father’s cold blooded murder. Locke family shifts to their father’s ancestral home, one of the oldest buildings in town which has witnessed World War brutality, especially the Well House.

Named appropriately, Locke house is filled with magical keys which can take a monstrous turn if put in the hands of a wrong person, or as the narrative suggests an “echo”. In a world of whispering keys, things start to take a turbulent turn after Bode ignores the warning of his family by helping out his lady friend. Caught between trauma and teenage drama, the show follows the three Locke siblings trying to retrieve, explore and safe-keep the keys which have unlocked a new world to them. As if high school was not hard enough already, the kids, on one hand, are battling a supernatural creature whilst making sure that their social relationships remain intact. Even on the home front, the situation is tumultuous as their mother Nina, in an attempt to understand her husband’s past is falling down a rabbit hole and is fighting her sobriety. 

The narrative lacks a sense of danger and thrill by playing it too safe for its own good

However, Locke & Key has a familiar scent which nostalgically makes the viewers reminiscent of a Stranger Things world mixed with the supernatural horror flicks of Netflix. The narrative lacks a sense of danger and thrill by playing it too safe for its own good. Problems occur but seem to get resolved on their own, without much effort on the part of the Locke siblings. The supernatural horror premise which involves a grieving family and a magical ancestral home, promises a lot of thrill but fails to deliver it. It’s not the Locke's but the narrative which seems to have become the saviour by downplaying its potential.

Credit: 8FLiX, IMDb

Thanks to Netflix’s high budget production and design, the grotesque is polished to gloss and presents a world of not-so teenager-looking teenagers. In addition to the background score and visual effects, the shots of Lunenburg and Nova Scotia are better parts of the show. However, the safe and sound plot adds the show to the list of disappointing Netflix series which fail to deliver. 

Credit: Netflix, YouTube
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