Conceptually, the abilities of certain keys should be viewed as downright terrifying. From getting stuck in a shard-filled mirror prison, to literally having a body fall lifeless to the floor in order to become a spirit -- yes, there's a Ghost Key that makes people, well, ghosts -- you'd think the reaction to each new key would frighten the Locke kids. But as bonkers as it'd be in real life to insert a key into the back of one's neck to venture inside their own minds, or to turn your heart off and then on again in order to live out some Casper-esque dreams, these kids, for the most part, take each new discovery with ease. Like we said: Amblin-esque.
The horror from the comics may be mostly gone in Netflix's new series, but there's a knowledge of the genre that remains within this world. Case in point: the Savini Squad, a group of high school friends who are also horror fanatics, who are specifically drawn to the works of real-life horror maestro Tom Savini, famous for his special effects work on movies like Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th. Heck, Savini even has a little cameo in the show.
"It's not horror, but sort of talks about horror, a little bit," Joe Hill told Thrillist, along with a small group of journalists during Netflix's official press day. "So there's the Savini Squad, which is a gang of horror fans. They talk a lot about final girls, and it's part meta. It's not as meta as something like Scream or Cabin in the Woods, but there's definitely a thread of conversation about fantasy, horror, and using what people have learned from pop culture to adapt to the situation they find themselves in at Keyhouse, which, to me, makes sense."
Yes, that makes sense. But talking about horror and experiencing it are two completely different things. That's not to say that there isn't any danger present in the series. The fear demon Kinsey faces in the book may have been scaled up to look like an angsty goth kid with rage issues -- in the comics, Kinsey keeps her little fear demon as a pet, trapped in a jar -- but Dodge, the Well Lady (Laysla De Oliveira) we mentioned earlier, helps maintain a certain sense of immediacy throughout the show's run.
It took some time for Dodge to escape the bottom of the well in the books, but she gets out rather quickly in the show. And while Dodge in the series is unable to acquire any of the keys without Bode straight-up giving them to her, she's still a worthy threat that keeps the emotional stakes of Locke & Key in check. Her scenes with Bode are some of the better sequences in the show.
Locke & Key is certainly fun, but for diehard fans of the comics, a "fun show" isn't exactly what they signed up for. Here's hoping that the next season will bring with it a solid narrative foundation, whether it's horror or fantasy. Because if it doesn't know exactly what it is, the future of the Locke family and the impact of Keyhouse's unfolding mystery will most certainly get lost in the shuffle.