It must have been very dark days indeed between Willow and the Star Wars prequels for Warwick Davis to have signed up for the Leprechaun movies. Even the first one was terrible, and the sequels? Well, here are the titles:
Leprechaun 2: One Wedding and Lots of Funerals
Leprechaun 4: In Space
Leprechaun In The Hood
Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood
Part 3 the only one without a subtitle and is considered the best. And when I say best I mean it’s still God awful but not as awful as the idea of the Leprechaun in space. But then I suspect everyone involved knew these films were rubbish, especially with those titles. Also Warwick Davis is well known to be a damned fine chap so keeping him employed in any way is alright by me.
However, at some point someone must have got very confused about this franchise and felt that it had drifted away from its earlier message: in the same way that Batman and Robin‘s rubber nipples had strayed too far away from Tim Burton’s original vision, so Leprechaun had gone back to the hood one too many times. It was no longer the dark tale of a tiny gold obsessed sprite from Ireland destroying the lives of young hot people like Jennifer Aniston. It had become a jokey blackspotstion movie, where even the oversized green top hat didn’t look real anymore. The fans were up in tiny arms, and someone in Hollywood noticed: it was time for a reboot.
Of course there was only one way to fix this mess. They had to go back to the beginning of the story of this evil leprechaun, back to the old country where it all began. We needed an origin story, we needed Leprechaun: Origins.
Another thing apparently we needed, and I can’t believe I’m even writing this, is for the new Leprechaun movie to be dark and gritty, you know, like Batman Begins. There’s no more room for silly quips as people are murdered one by one, we need grit. Also, much of the film must be set at night and with minimal lighting, not only keep things dark, but so one really can tell what is going on for much of its running time. Not that you have to worry too much about THAT because the film is well under the claimed hour and a half, it has twelve minutes of closing credits despite looking like only a dozen people worked on it.
We begin, as you would expect for a tale about an Irish leprechaun’s origins, in Ireland. Here, there is a village which is terrorised by the tiny creature of the title, so whenever a group of hot American tourists turn up, they are sent to a cabin in the woods as some kind of Gallic sacrifice to the green dwarf. Want to know more about the beginning of this leprechaun? About where he came from and how he came to be so evil? Want to know, as the title suggests, his origins? Well you’ve come to the wrong movie buddy. There’s nothing of the sort here. This is worse than when Leatherface became a chainsaw wielding lunatic in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning because he happened to walk past a chainsaw. At least there was some acknowledgment of a start of something. Here, there is no sign of anything, other than a dull thump at the back of my head as I watched events not unfurl. It is almost as if they added the “Origins” bit of the title after making the film because they thought that after the raging success that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine everyone was clamouring to get a piece of the origins pie.
Also, and if I am wrong please tell me so, but I thought a leprechaun was a small mischievous sprite obsessed with funny green suits, winkle pickers and gold at the end of rainbows. What we have here seems to be some kind of lizard-like subspecies with jagged dinosaur teeth and no shoes at all. It also doesn’t speak or show any signs of intelligence other that basic hunter killer instincts like a tiger. I think it is green though, it’s hard to tell in the dark.
So what we have is a film called Leprechaun: Origins which is not an origin story and not about leprechauns.
Things do not start well. For one thing Ireland does not look like whatever this place is. It looks more like Canada. Also all the locals, despite the fiddle dee music playing in the background do not sound Irish, they sound Canadian. The local pub and the cabin in the woods have no Irish traits to them. Hell, Irish people don’t even have cabins in woods, they have cottages, like any sensible normal people would. These buildings look North American of origin. Possible Canadian.
I looked it up. The film was made in Canada. So the origins bit can’t even be bothered to stretch to telling a story in its place of origin.
This is a WWE film so it isn’t really a surprise. The wrestling film federation aren’t known for their care and thought whilst making their movies. This was obviously a star vehicle for the diminutive wrestler Hornswoggle. They’d already made films for The Rock, John Cena and Kane: it was time to keep the little guy happy. However the ridiculous costume he’s in means that you never even see Hornswoggle. Between the overly fast editing and poor compositions you can’t even tell how tall he is. It could be anyone in that costume. Even the close ups of his face have had lots of post production smears and defocuses added so you can never properly see the creature. It’s almost as if the filmmakers were embarrassed of their monster (although the quality of the make up effects look okay from what little I could see).
The costumes for the Irish/Canadian locals are also quite bizarre. It is apparent that the WWE are of the opinion that people in Europe still live in the nineteenth century. Everyone is wearing the standard issue Euro peasant outfit, seen in numerous Frankenstein films from the 1930s but even they were actually set in the nineteenth century. Leprechaun: Origins is definitely set now, as the American tourists are modern with the usual mobile phone problems that everyone has in horror movies nowadays, but this Ireland doesn’t even seem to have much electricity, most places seem to be lit by candle light. Unless this is some kind of Brigadoon scenario where the locals live in some weird time bubble that only appears once every hundred years, although if so this is not made clear. Besides, that’s a Scottish story not an Irish one. Although one of the locals is called Hamish, again Scottish but no one seems to care.
There’s a general laziness going on around and in this film. Characters are beyond stupid. The teens idea of a plan is to lock themselves in with the leprechaun because… I don’t know why. It ends with an axe in someone’s face. The villagers hate the life they lead, sacrificing people to the monster, but no one is prepared to just get up and leave. No one even likes the village so why not abandon the place? Also, the leprechaun, or whatever it is, turns out to be really easy to kill so why didn’t the villagers do that ages ago? Other stuff which doesn’t work? Well, everything, but the frequent jump scares seem to be off. The music comes in too late or an actor jumps before they are given a fright.
On the positive side the gore is pretty good and, um…