Netflix at long last opened the doors to Keyhouse this Friday, with its adaptation of the Locke & Key comic books. Will you be sticking around Matheson for the 10-episode season?
Developed for the small screen by Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel), Meredith Averill (The Haunting of Hill House) and Aron Eli Coleite (Heroes), Locke & Key stars Darby Stanchfield (Scandal) as Nina Locke, a widow who in the wake of husband Rendell’s tragic murder, by high school student Sam Lesser, moves herself and her three kids — Tyler (American Crime‘s Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Utopia‘s Emilia Jones) and Bode (It‘s Jackson Robert Scott) — across the country from Seattle to the Locke family’s ancestral home in Matheson, Massachusetts.
The series opens with a scene in which a fortysomething Asian man receives a phone call, alerting him to the aforementioned Rendell Locke’s death. Telling the female caller he knows what he must do, the man rounds up some papers and photos inside his home — including a map of Keyhouse — before retrieving from a safe a key which he plunges into his chest, setting himself and soon the whole place on fire.
Three months later, we pick up with the Locke clan enduring Body’s “Serious Question” car game as they make their way to a wintry Matheson, where at the local ice cream shoppe they are promptly recognized as that family (by scooper Scot, who seems to strike a spark with sullen Kinsey). Arriving at the grand Keyhouse, the quartet are met by Rendell’s brother Duncan, who gives a quick tour of the sprawling if dusty ground floor, before admitting to Nina he has been very negligent with upkeep, seeing as the manse memorializes a not so good childhood.
While Tyler and Kinsey explore a nearby cliff on the property (texting a selfie to their late dad’s phone, for posterity sake), Bode discovers a wellhouse. Squeezing past its locked gate, the lad snaps a pic of the bottomless well, but loses the spat-out Polaroid to the ink-black chasm. Yet moments later, the Polaroid materializes on the well ledge! Bode hollers down into the hole, and is eventually answered by his “echo,” a female voice who advises him to be on the lookout for magical keys hidden throughout his new home. Sure ’nuff, Bode soon after is cued by “whispers” to bust up Kinsey’s prized bracelet — a gift from Dad she vowed to protect — and extract from it the Anywhere Key, which allows the user to walk through a door to any another door they have seen before. Kinsey is skeptical of Bode’s claim, even when he waves around the ice cream he just procured from her “closet.”
At the teens’ new high school, Tyler is befriended by some fellow hockey bros who insist that his tragic baggage will get him laid easily (though at a house party that night, Tyler is too haunted by visions of Sam, who taunts him about coming home too late to save his dad, to go all the way with eager Eden). Kinsey, meanwhile, lunches under the stairs with a “fauxloney” sandwich until she is found by Scot, who invites her to hang with “The Savini Squad” (his small band of horror film aficionados). Kinsey’s night, like Tyler’s, goes sideways when Scot’s opinion about “final girls” in horror films, rubs her the wrong way, seeing as she hid with Bode during Sam Lesser’s storming of their Seattle home.
Back home, Bode juts his arm into the kitchen sink disposal (never a good idea, kids!) to fish out a second key. This one fits inside a lock that presents itself on any mirror, allowing the person to step inside some sort of realm. Bode’s “echo” had suggested it would let him see his dead dad again, but when Bode rushes to report back that his mom has been trapped inside the mirror, the well lady reveals that she was playing a nasty game of semantics, before sashaying off with the Anywhere Key. Darting back to the house, Bode loops in his siblings, who tie a rope around Tyler’s waist as he ventures inside the mirror himself to find and pull out their mother. Yet moments after the harrowing experience, Nina seems oblivious to what transpired.
In the final moments of the premiere, we visit the prison where Rendell’s killer, Sam, is locked up. He has a visitor, and it’s the “well lady.”
“Hi, Sam,” she coos to the prisoner. “I told you I’d come see you….”