Leprechaun: Origins Review

Posted: August 26, 2014 in Horror, Reviews
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Leprechaun_612x380Nostalgia is not what it used to be when it comes to consideration of Leprechaun: Origins, one of the oddest of all possible horror franchise reboots. What you remember from the original Leprechaun films, the first of which debuted in 1993, will be of little value. Longtime fans hoping for another glimpse of Warwick Davis dispensing rhymes and rough Irish justice for anyone fool enough to steal his gold will be in for a disappointment. WWE studios produced the movie, so it comes as no surprise that they have cast one of their own in the lead role. Dylan Postl, known as Hornswoggle in the wrestling ring, takes over as the Leprechaun, but he’s buried under latex and has no lines. Why they have stripped Postl of any possibility of making an impression in the role is unclear. Indeed, why even draw attention to who is under the make up, when the actor will suffer by comparison to the original?

Say what you will – and it was always difficult to find someone to say a good word in favor of the Leprechaun films – the movies and the character endured, even if they didn’t always endear. The little green man made six film appearances over a ten-year period, including an outing in space and two in the ghetto. As embodied by Davis, who starred in Willow and in the Star Wars films, the Leprechaun was pure Id, a nasty, brutish piece of work who was all avarice and lust. Davis’ monster was similar to Chucky, the evil doll from the Child’s Play films – both were dimunitive, but inhuman horrors, perversions of safe childhood touchstones. Sure, they were cheesy and campy, but damn it, there was something genuinely creepy about them as well.

In Leprechaun: Origins, the monster is a creature, a hellish imp with the personality and appetite of a wolverine. He is terrorizing an old Irish village whose inhabitants had the misfortune to come across his gold in an old cave and unwisely decided to help themselves. Now, the elders in the town comprise perhaps the worst tourist board in the world as they inefficiently attempt to attract foreigners they can forcefeed to the wee one. Two couples, Americans on their last weekend in Ireland taking one last day trip, come to town looking for Guiness and old Celtic ruins, but wind up on the menu instead. Viewers know what they’re in for almost from the get-go, when these backpackers actually complain about having to walk.

Logic is the first victim in Leprechaun: Origins. There are so many fundamental gaps in continuity and common sense and so little plausibility in character motivation and reaction thoughout, that the movie can only be evaluated on a scene-by-scene basis to judge what works and what does not. The cast is fine; the script is not. Zach Lipovsky’s direction shows some promise. Certain scenes are framed and shot effectively, but the decision to shoot from the Leprechaun’s POV using a form of Predator night vision was a significant mistake. There is one fun “whoops” death that recalls some of the malicious glee of the original films, but otherwise it’s a grim march through the “Who goes how and in What order” style of slasher flick.

Stephanie Bennett is solid as Sophie, the virgin warrior archetype here, who, interestingly, is the leader of the group from the beginning rather than inheriting it after the demise of the males. Perhaps Bennett will be as fortunate as her forebearer in the Leprechaun series, Jennifer Aniston, who starred in the original. While she may not enjoy that degree of success, Bennett is easy on the eyes and can handle an ax well enough that she deserves a few more Scream Queen roles.

As for Hornswoggle and any thoughts of continuing the relaunching of the Leprechaun franchise, the need to reestablish the original figure with his gift of gab and gold-buckled shoes seems obvious. With Leprechaun: Origins, there is so little gold to mine that the end credits are stretched to over 10 minutes for the film to reach a 90-minute runtime.

One and a half stars.

 

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