'Locke & Key' trailer feels like 'Umbrella Academy' and Netflix's next hit
The first official trailer for Netflix’s Locke & Key series is finally here, offering a look at a dark fantasy that could be the streaming platform’s next big hit on par with the likes of Umbrella Academy or The Witcher, except with kid-friendly Lovecraftian vibes that mashup The Chronicles of Narnia with The Haunting of Hill House. It’s weird, vibrant, and terrifying.
Based on the comic book series from IDW Publishing written by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son, by the way) and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, Locke & Key tells the story of the three Locke siblings who move into Keyhouse, their family’s ancestral home in Massachusetts, after their father’s gruesome murder. They find a series of magical keys that grant them all sorts of supernatural abilities, but there’s also some kind of demon out to claim the keys for itself.
In the trailer, whispers linger on the air, coming from every dark corner of the creepy house. The design seems campy, colorful, and playful even when we’re dealing with demons and all manner of other strange supernatural threats.
“Keyhouse is filled with amazing keys,” a female voice says in the trailer. “Listen for them. They whisper.”
The youngest Locke sibling, Bode, finds a key hidden in a painting and uses it to open a door with a skull on the handle. As soon as he steps through into the wintery landscape beyond, his spirit leaves his body and flies off. We’re definitely not in Narnia. Different keys lead to all sorts of strange places within the house — and to what look like extra-dimensional spaces that exist within but also beyond the confines of the house.
When they open up one door glowing with a blue light, they see the silhouette of a woman. “You woke me up,” the figure says. “You have no idea what’s coming.” She seems like the “demon” that wants the keys, but it’s unclear exactly who or what she is, why she wants the keys, or even what these keys do. At one point, it looks like Kinsey uses a key to make a copy of herself, but like many scenes in the trailer there’s not much context. Later on, Bode runs around with a toy lightsaber while being pursued by shadow creatures, as if the weapon might actually help defend against them.
Kinsey, the middle Locke sibling and only sister, recognizes that these keys are their legacy. “They’re something that connects us with dad,” she says.
Fans of the comics will recognize everything that’s going on, but to the uninitiated, it’s a dizzying array of magical horror hijinks. Light spoilers lie ahead. All of this magic is connected to an inter-dimensional portal beneath the house, which is where they see the female figure. They’re made of “whispering iron” (that explains why people hear whispering) and can offer more traditional powers like super-strength or winged flight, but they can also swap a person’s gender, change their race, or even remove a demon from a possessed person.
Between the surprising variety of powers involved here and the presence of demonic beings in a weird mansion makes Locke & Key feel a lot like Umbrella Academy, but this new series will be something quite different, closer to the child-focused A Series of Unfortunate Events and leaning towards horror. Either way, it looks like something that fans of these other Netflix stories will love.
All 10 episodes of Locke & Key will be released on Netflix February 7, 2020.