Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Leprechaun: Origins

Just because I'm Irish everyone assumes I know a lot about the old folklore tales of Leprechauns. I don't, so please stop asking. I know about as much of it as you do, and I still had to run by Wikipedia to bone up on it. In fact, whenever I hear the world Leprechaun my mind instantly rushes to the Leprechaun film series, the ones starring Warwick Davis in the role of the miniature mythical creature. The concept behind the Leprechaun folklore isn't much to base an entire series of films on, so instead of it telling the tale of a nice little Leprechaun mending shoes and giving out gold, the Leprechaun films turned him into a bit of a butcher and a murderer. However, there was always a bit of humour thrown into the mix too, and this was mostly a result of casting Warwick Davis in the lead role. There were six films in the series, and as they progressed they became more and more outlandish. Put it this way, two of the films late in the series are called Leprechaun 4: In Space and Leprechaun 5: In The Hood. In Space pitted the Leprechaun against space marines, while In The Hood also starred Ice T in a tale that included rapping and marijuana use, both of which are done by the Leprechaun himself! Those films were over the top and proud of it. So, as there wasn't a Leprechaun film since 2003, Lionsgate Films and WWE Studios (I know, right?) have decided to reboot it, you know, because that always that works out. I mean, just look at the recent reboots of Robocop and Total Recall!

Directed by Zach Lipovsky (aka the guy who will soon ruin the Dead Rising film) and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Leprechaun: Origins, a reboot of the classic horror series. In the lead up to release the creators kept talking about it being dark, gritty and unlike the Warwick Davis series, and they're right. But it also happens to be boring, terrible and an utter waste of the franchise's name. Compared to what was previously in the series, the story here is by-the-numbers, and focuses on a group of American backpackers travelling through Ireland. After talking to some of the locals they decide to stay in a nearby cabin. Of course, nothing goes according to plan as they start to realise that they're being stalked by something. That something is Lubdan the Leprechaun, and he's pissed that someone has stolen his gold. The group must survive the onslaught of the Leprechaun, and figure out exactly who stole his precious riches.

OK, first off I live in Ireland and wherever they made this it looks nothing like Ireland. Nothing. Sure there's a few Irish actors thrown in there, but they're all Z-list actors, Irish actors who will always end up playing one of two things in life- Irish America thugs in a film set in Boston or an Irish priest in a home-grown production. That's it. Also, speaking of Z-list actors, the main cast here are entirely vapid, and easily fit in with the classic slasher film airheads who die after having sex. They just stumble around, blurt out dialogue and die one by one, with the last surviving one being exactly the character you suspect will survive in the end. Then there's the Leprechaun itself. Granted it's a reboot, so as much as that sucks I still wasn't expecting a design similar as to what Warwick Davis looked like in his films, but shit, now it just looks like some generic monster. It looks like an animals skull with skin stretched over it, and it just comes across as uninspired and shoddy, quite frankly. I know they were going for more of a serious tone here, but when you call your film Leprechaun: Origins, you're not exactly off to a good start.

In this film Lubdan is played by WWE wrestler Dylan Postl, whose claim to fame was wrestling dressed up as a Leprechaun under the persona "Hornswoggle". I've nothing against what Postl is doing here at all, but due to the massive amounts of make-up and prosthetics covering his face, you can't even tell it's him. He may have been able to give a great, funny and chilling performance, but in Leprechaun: Origins we're left with a generic villain, terrible actors reading out an awful script and the most un-Irish looking Ireland ever brought to film. Oh and I know it's a tiny little gripe, but the cabin the group of backpackers end up staying in is clearly something you might find in America, not Ireland. Think about it, even the location they spend most of the film inside looks completely un-Irish. Unbelievable.

Leprechaun: Origins isn't good, nor is it so-bad-it's-good. It's just bad. It's a shame too because they should have just made a new Leprechaun film with Warwick Davis. He's still ready, able, willing and hugely talented, and even if it wasn't great it would have been leagues better that this pile of Leprechaun crap. If you've done something bad recently watch this as punishment. If not, steer clear, my friends. Instead, just watch some of the classic Leprechaun films. Trust me, they're worth it!

Leprechaun: Origins is a pot of coal at the end of the rainbow and gets a 1/5.


Denis Murphy

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