Leprechaun: Origins

Rating:

Well, I Still Don’t Know Anything About the Leprechaun’s Origins…

Main Cast: Brendan Fletcher and Stephanie Bennett

Director: Zach Lipovsky

Several years ago, I took a month or so and watched and reviewed all the movies in the Leprechaun series. Why? Why not.

I have to assume it was that same attitude that caused this movie, Leprechaun: Origins, to be made. Why the hell not?

I’ll tell you why the hell not. Because it was friggin’ terrible. No one’s ever going to accuse the Leprechaun movies of being good, but they were silly and charming for their time. It’s 2015 now. Two of my three kids weren’t even born yet when this series got its start, and my daughter was just starting kindergarten when the last movie in the series came out. My daughter graduates high school next year, so the gap between Leprechaun movies is pretty big, and I have to ask why even bother with another one after such a long wait? Sure, George Miller did it with Mad Max Fury Road, but writer Harris Wilkison and director Zach Lipovsky are no George Miller.

Leprechaun: Origins, which is anything but an origin story, centers on two American couples, kids out of high school taking a trip to Ireland before starting college, who stumble into a small town where outsiders are fed a line about ancient mysterious stones they simply have to check out, they’re given a place to stay for the night, free of charge, and told they’ll head out in the morning to see the stones. What they don’t know, and only find out later, is that the townie who fed them the story is actually trying to feed them to the leprechaun.

It seems some time in the past, the villagers stole the leprechaun’s gold and, to keep him appeased, have been feeding him outsiders over the years. But these outsiders have a little fight in them and don’t go down so easily.

Once the leprechaun makes its presence and its intentions clear, the movie turns into one long chase scene with the kids saying over and over “we have to get to” whatever, a house, the truck, the woods, but never once just saying we have to get out of here. They’re always heading toward something in the general area, but never have the brains to just go and keep going until they’re nowhere near the general area. And if you ask me, that would have been the move from the start, because it’s the general area that’s giving them so much trouble.

That’s like being stuck in a building late at night with a killer on the loose. You don’t find a hiding place inside the building, you get the hell out.

So one by one the leprechaun feeds on the kids until only one is left, one of the girls, because it’s not a slasher movie without a final girl involved, and she makes it does what movie heroine would, she decides to kill the leprechaun. Well, better late than never, right?

God, that’s probably the kind of thinking that led to green lighting this movie in the first place. Better late than never.

Wanna bet? Sometimes never is the better option, trust me.

Considering most of the dialogue, once the action got started, consisted of a lot of yelling and “Let’s go!” and “This way!” I’m sure the actual script for this one couldn’t have been more than thirty pages, so Lipovsky had his work cut out for him filling in all that space. He does an admirable job, I suppose, giving us lots of footage of actors running, intercut with quick flashes of the leprechaun giving chase. In the end, none of it adds to the tension because after a while we’re just bored with it all (seriously, I stopped the movie and took a quick nap at one point), and wish something would happen besides the big chase scene, which seems to be the big chase movie instead.

The cast is forgettable and unrecognizable. I did pick out one actor, Brendan Fletcher, but only because I’ve seen Freddy Vs. Jason more times than I care to admit. But everyone else, Stephanie Bennett (Grave Encounters 2, which I LOVED), Andrew Dunbar (“Arrow”), and Melissa Roxburgh (“Arrow”) were totally unknown to me and I’ll forget about them within the hour, if not sooner.

But the worst cast choice here was Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl as the leprechaun. First of all, making a leprechaun movie without Warwick Davis in the title role is almost as bad an idea as making a Hellraiser movie without Doug Bradley in the Pinhead makeup, and anyone who’s seen the abysmal Hellraiser: Revelations knows what a terrible idea that is.

But it wasn’t just the casting that bothered me, but how very little the leprechaun did here, aside from chasing and killing. If this movie is supposed to be some kind of origin story–which I don’t believe it is, even for a second–then wouldn’t the leprechaun here have some kind of ties to the Davis version? Maybe a slightly younger self, but still in the iconic costume or something? Nope, apparently not. Postl’s leprechaun is an animal. It looks like its face is that of a dog after being set on fire. It doesn’t utter a word, not a single punny quip, and while those original movies were terrible as well, Davis always got the best lines, bad as they were. Postl doesn’t get a single line of a dialogue at all, not even an “I WANT ME GOLD!” They could have put anyone in that costume. Most of the time it doesn’t even look like a little person in the makeup. As much of a real look at it as we get–which isn’t much at all–it looks like a normal-sized man crawling around hunched over on his knuckles, or a man with no legs at all. We’re never given a real look at the leprechaun in this entire movie, and that’s a big no-no in this genre. You don’t make a monster movie and never show the monster in all its glory. COME ON!

There’s no costume, either. Instead, much like the face, his body looks like he was badly burned, never healed, and didn’t bother trying to cover up his deformity with a cute outfit. For all the familiarity we get out of Postl’s leprechaun, this movie could have been called VAGUE IRISH MONSTER THAT EATS PEOPLE and we never would have known this was supposed to be the latest in the leprechaun franchise. In fact, those previous movies ought to be pretty pissed off that this thing is calling itself a leprechaun. It’s going to blacken the family name with nonsense like that! Hell, make up the name of a legendary Irish monster and call the movie THAT. This is NOT a leprechaun movie.

If I were you, and if you hadn’t already seen and reviewed all of the other Leprechaun movies, I’d advise giving this one a HUGE miss. And thank your movie gods you’ve got people like me watching out for you. You’re welcome.

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