Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.
The Leprechaun Franchise
So… the Leprechaun franchise, am I right? They are some of the most notably bad movies in the entire horror genre, yet there is some appeal behind them. For starters, Warwick Davis gives his all in a franchise an actor like him had no right to give his all to. Second, after the first film, the filmmakers seemed to understand the piles of shit they were making… and they rolled with it. They embraced the terrible quality, the equally terrible plot, and the perpetual changes in leprechaun rules. They became so self-aware that it actually worked in their favor. The films basically became comedies rather than horror movies. The first six movies are bad, yes, but they are the fun kind of bad. You can laugh at the movie with friends, yet actually feel like you’re laughing with the movie. I actually had a great time watching them, and I have come to appreciate them for what they are.
I cannot say the same about the 2014 reboot.
To be frank, I assumed that after Back 2 Tha Hood, Lionsgate realized that they couldn’t keep going. The franchise would get repetitive and slowly––or quickly––become less and less funny. I think they made a good call. But then 2014 came around, and I guess Lionsgate and WWE Pictures thought it would be fun to bring Leprechaun back… but not in the way that audiences originally enjoyed. No, instead of continuing with the self-aware humor, Lionsgate decided they wanted to attempt an all-serious reboot that would turn leprechauns into the next big horrifying movie monster. Needless to say, that isn’t what happened. Instead, they created a pile of shit that took itself way too seriously and failed to deliver anything close to a good plot or good character development, let alone a good monster.
First, let’s talk about the characters. The film follows four friends on their trip to Ireland… where they immediately get lost and have no clue what to do. So, they decide to follow a stranger to a remote cabin for free and proceed to get locked inside as sacrifices for an angry leprechaun that a small Irish village pissed off. I mean, I think they deserved to die because they followed a stranger and had to pay nothing and didn’t see that as any sort of red flag, but that’s just my opinion. But who are these characters? First, we have the douchebag guy friend and his douchebag girlfriend who are always touching each other and drinking. Then we have the other couple, a decently nice girl and her boyfriend who has been quite distant. Do you see that? The boyfriend has a secret… that’s character development! But wait… he dies before any questions can be answered. And the character development is out the window! That’s really it. There is nothing close to development besides that. The rest of the film is them running––so much running!––for their lives while they argue about what to do and occasionally accidentally kill one of their friends. Whoops! The other characters are local villagers who are attempting to keep the four friends around so that the leprechaun can get them because apparently, the leprechauns will let the villagers live if they are given sacrifices, even though the villagers stole their gold. Whatever. I guess the film thought it needed human antagonists, as well. What it needed was better antagonists all around, because watching the Irish constantly pointing shotguns at our American “heroes” but not actually doing anything got monotonous really fast.
But what about the titular villain? What is so wrong about him? Well, for starters, he didn't look like a leprechaun. He had a very bland design that seemed to copy the styles of both the creatures from The Descent––a horror movie I love––and the Rake (the creepypasta), and his head resembled that of a short-snouted horse. He also had tiny legs (because Leprechauns are short-at least they tried getting something right) and insanely long arms. Basically, he moved like a gorilla, and I have no idea as to why the creators thought that was the best option. We rarely ever see him outside of insane close-ups, which you can say is because it builds “suspense,” but I think we all know it was because they didn’t have a big enough budget to show the full creature on camera. I feel bad for Dylan Postl (the WWE wrestler Hornswoggle) for having to sit in whatever prosthetics they put him in just to barely be seen.
To sum it up, I wasn’t a fan of the "leprechaun.” I prefer Warwick Davis.
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Where Does the 'Origins' Part Come Into Play?
Okay, so I may be overreacting to this, and maybe I'm not, but... origins? ORIGINS? How is this an origin? We don't see the villagers taking gold from the leps. We don't see when or how long the village has been offering sacrifices. We see none of that. This is not an origin story, so don't use the word "origins."
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Are There Any Redeeming Qualities?
I will give the film some props: when they do decide to actually show some gore, it is quite graphic and bloody, and that is always something that makes me happy.
There are some funny moments, and I emphasize the word "some" because I mostly laughed at unintentionally funny sequences... but even that was a rarity.
So no, there are not very many redeeming qualities. The film is boring and not scary, and while it did bring something new to the Leprechaun franchise, it failed to bring anything innovative or good.
To this day (at least in my opinion), Leprechaun: Origins stands as the epitome of bad horror reboots... and I've seen some pretty bad reboots. What the creators failed to understand was that the stupid humor in the original 6 Leprechaun movies was what interjected life into the franchise. The movies would have been shit without their self-aware humor. Origins lacked that self-aware humor (and humor in general)––it took itself way too seriously, and that was its biggest downfall. That, and both the protagonists and antagonists were bland and lifeless.
I understand the Leprechaun movies are pretty shit, yet I still enjoy them to an extent. I understand that Origins is shit... and I didn't enjoy it at all. Luckily, the second franchise revival––Leprechaun Returns––wasn't too bad. However, I don't think I need to see any more of Lep anytime soon.
Leprechaun: Origins sits at the bottom of the horror trashcan for me, right there alongside The Bye Bye Man, Ouija, and other random obscure pieces of garbage not worth mentioning here. In other words, I will be giving Leprechaun: Origins a 1/10.
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