If I were to mention the Leprechaun franchise to you and ask for the first thing to pop into your mind, you’d likely conjure up an image of Warwick Davis bouncing on a victim’s corpse with a pogo stick or killing a dude with a bong.
And it’s precisely that sort of silliness that you’ll be begging for the return of, after you spend 80 minutes with this here reboot.
Released onto VOD outlets today, and hitting home video September 30th, Leprechaun: Origins is Lionsgate and WWE Films’ attempt to bring a little seriousness to the franchise, completely re-imagining the title character and replacing the humor and fun of the previous installments with straight up horror – well, that’s the idea, at least.
In this latest exercise in the modern obsession with making all fun things ‘dark’ and ‘gritty,’ four young friends are backpacking through Ireland when they’re told by a local about an ancient rock formation that they just need to see. But first, he and his creepy son drive the youths to a creepy cabin in the woods to spend the night, and it’s there that they’re hunted by the town’s pint-sized secret.
When I first heard about Leprechaun: Origins, my interest was immediately piqued by the decision to go in a totally different direction with the franchise. I’m all for remakes that bring something different to the table, and in fact it’s the ones that do that I typically enjoy and appreciate the most.
Unfortunately, in the case of this particular remake, the decision to not connect it in any way to the original franchise is more a lazy one than anything else, as what’s been churned out here is an utterly generic monster movie that was clearly only given the Leprechaun title so that people would actually pay to see it.
This is not the origin story of a character we know and love but rather a wholly uninspired Syfy-style turd, which somehow manages to accomplish the seemingly impossible; make the fucking Leprechaun franchise look bad. In other words, I’d welcome Leprechaun’s third foray into tha hood with open arms, at this very point in time. Yea. Seriously.
In Leprechaun: Origins, the characters are as two-dimensional and unlikeable as movie characters can possibly get and every single horror movie trope is mined for all it’s worth. That said, one could argue that one doesn’t sit down to watch a Leprechaun movie looking for good characters or a great story, so let’s instead talk a little bit about the two things one would hope to see in such a movie; the Leprechaun himself and fun kill scenes.
It’s no secret that the title character was completely redesigned for this reboot, and played for the very first time by someone other than Warwick Davis. Underneath the costume this time around is WWE superstar Dylan ‘Hornswoggle’ Postl and it’s quite frankly impossible to comment on his performance, given the fact that you never really get a good, clear look at the character. As in, NEVER.
For the entirety of the movie, first-time director Zach Lipovsky (who starred in the ‘Vampire Breath’ episode of the Goosebumps TV series!) treats the Leprechaun like he’s goddamn Jaws, never once revealing his full form. It seemed quite clear to me that everyone involved with the production just wasn’t happy with the design and therefore decided to hide it as much as possible, and I can’t say I blame them, given the fact that the costume is far from impressive.
Again, it’s hard to even comment on the creature design since so little of it is seen, but from what I could tell it looked like an uninspired mess, a sort of sloppy amalgam of horror movie monsters past. It’s going to sound like I’m trying to be funny when I say this but in all honestly Leprechaun 2014 looks like a pile of human excrement that a child crudely carved a face and rough body form into, which needless to say isn’t exactly a compliment.
In addition to the poor design, Postl is essentially given the freedom to do absolutely nothing with the role, as all the creature really does is run around and make weird Predator-like gurgling noises (he’s got Predator-vision, too). Not once does he utter a single line, and I can guarantee you that the film will leave you missing the Leprechaun of old. A far cry from Warwick Davis’ incarnation of the character, in every single aspect.
If there’s anything positive I can say it’s in regards to some of the kills, as the movie briefly flirts with the idea of being a gore-fest, and nearly everything on display is practically created – rather than computer generated. A couple standout scenes of brutality are well done and suggest that a much more entertaining film was dying to emerge from a really boring one, though those moments are too seldom, and far too brief, to make any sort of lasting impact.
Oh, and there’s a line of dialogue at the very end that will likely bring a smile to your face, but by that point it’s too little too late, and feels like it doesn’t even belong in the movie you’d been watching up until that point. But I did kind of smirk, so I suppose it’s worth noting.
As bad as many of the original Leprechaun films were, they were at least entertaining, largely thanks to Warwick Davis’ always delightful performance as the knee-high monster. Without Davis, and without that aim to entertain, Leprechaun: Origins is a dull bore that wears out its welcome even at only 80-minutes long, never accomplishing much other than making you wonder why you’re still watching.
It’s not funny, it’s not scary and it damn sure isn’t a movie you ought to be wasting your time with, whether you love the Leprechaun films or you were excited about the idea of this being nothing like them. It’s simply a bad movie wrapped in a package that begs you to at least give it a chance.
Resist, my friend. Resist. There’s truly nothing to see here.
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