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Netflix’s ‘Locke and Key’ jangles nerves

| Thursday, February 27, 2020

Cristina Interiano | The Observer

Netflix’s new magical thriller series “Locke and Key,” created by Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite and Carlton Cuse, combines fantasy with horror in a surprisingly captivating plotline. You would think that there are already lots of stories about magical keys that do terrifyingly cool things, but the only one that comes to my mind is the scene in the first Harry Potter book/movie with the enchanted keys needed to unlock the next door to get to the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Seeing as this series is based off of books, I would say Netflix picked a good premise to run with.

After the inked sketch introduction illustrating all of the keys and their capabilities, accompanied by a catchy jewelry or music box lullaby that’s just the right amount of pretty and creepy, I was left intrigued by what the story would be about.

Three siblings and their mother move to the town of Matheson to reclaim Keyhouse, an eclectic and enigmatic mansion that is property passed down through their paternal ancestral line, owned by the Locke family. Keyhouse and Matheson provide a fresh start for the Locke family after their father was mysteriously murdered. However, the town doesn’t exactly let them forget their past since everyone seems to know what happened and who the Lockes are.

Rendell Locke’s widow Nina (Darby Stanchfield) tries to focus her energy into cleaning up Keyhouse and refinishing furniture like she did before her husband’s death. The kids are starting at new schools, with Tyler and Kinsey attending a preppy high school and Bode attending grade school.

Tyler and Kinsey (Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones) are at ages where social life drama adds to the complications of Keyhouse, while Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) is young enough that he can devote all of his focus to finding the keys by listening for their whispers. Scott creates an adorable Bode and perfectly captures his naïvete and surplus of trust.

Laysla De Oliveira portrays a scary but beautiful “Well Lady’’ as the Lockes know her for the first half of the series. Sherri Saum’s return to the screen adds a familiar face to the cast, though her Ellie Whedon is much more sinister than her character on “The Fosters.”

I applaud Netflix for its adaptation of this story, and while they capture a lot of the fantastical magic within it, it does feel a bit cheesy at times; while I’m not sure if that is due to the script or the cast, it’s definitely not because of the plot. The anticipation of the discovery of each new key, its design and what it does drives a lot of the story, as well as the secretive past of Rendell Locke and his friends from Matheson.

Suspenseful secrets are unlocked in one of Netflix’s more popular book-to-TV show adaptations. The show keeps the surprises coming until the final episode — it takes until the end to figure out who wields the key to Rendell Locke’s past as well as his wife’s and brother’s memories.

“Locke and Key”

Created by: Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite and Carlton Cuse

Where to Watch: Netflix

If You Like: “A Wrinkle in Time,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

Shamrocks: 3/5

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