*. Go ahead and call me an idiot, but I was actually looking forward to this one. I thought there was potential in the original Leprechaun franchise that went untapped, and in its final instalment, Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood, even Warwick Davis seemed tired of it. Time for some fresh blood then!
*. I went in cold, not having read any of the reviews. My first tip off that things weren’t going well came with the credits. WWE Studios? Had they ever produced a good movie? And who the hell was Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl? Apparently a wrestler. Hornswoggle was his ring name. Why he wanted it included in the credits here, or if it was his decision, I don’t know.
*. I don’t know if Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl is a good actor. Despite the fact that he has star billing playing the Leprechaun he doesn’t actually do much. To be honest, aside from his fascination with gold I don’t think he’s much of a leprechaun. In appearance he’s sort of like a skinned chimp, or one of the troglodytes in The Descent. Instead of busting rhymes he only growls. And he doesn’t wear any clothes, so no top hat and buckled shoes.
*. In other words, he’s a kind of wild, flesh-eating animal — not a character at all much less a witty leprechaun. He also has no magic powers and it’s actually kind of hard to figure out why the villagers haven’t been able to kill him yet.
*. Gone are the fun-loving days of horror comedy. This Leprechaun movie wants us to take it straight. Which would have been fine if it were well done. Unfortunately they gave up what at least aspired to a kind of goofy charm for something ugly, dark, and stupid.
*. The set-up plugs into what had become common contemporary horror tropes. Chief among these is tourist terror. American backpackers in trouble while on vacation. I don’t know where this got started (maybe An American Werewolf in London?) but around this time such films were thick on the ground (think Hostel, Turistas, The Ruins, and Midsommar). Connected to this is the idea of visiting a village with an evil secret, in this case a place in Ireland that stole a leprechaun’s gold some years back and now has to offer up tourists as sacrifices to keep the little beast placated. At least I think that’s the back story. It wasn’t all that clear.
*. Again, the conventionality of this needn’t have been the kiss of death. They still could have made it work. But they didn’t. The script is junk, with the characters behaving, and sounding, like idiots throughout. They are also clichés. The hero boy is going into med school and the last girl (his girlfriend) is going to do a Master’s in history. That sort of thing.
*. Even where clichés are avoided the script runs into problems. Why do none of these kids have a cell phone? This gets around the usual business about not being able to get a signal, but it’s not easy to understand.
*. Then there’s the look of the movie. As I’ve said, it’s ugly and dark. Good luck seeing anything, especially with the picture constantly being jerked out of focus. Then there’s the very strange decision to shoot things from the Leprechaun’s point of view, which reveals that he has some kind of Wolfen/Predator style vision. Why? I’ve no idea. It doesn’t even look good.
*. I guess you can say there’s one decent kill, also harkening back to Predator. But otherwise even the gore goes missing. It’s hard to overstate how disappointing all this is. I was thinking that at least the Leprechaun would look good, but he’s just a troll. Not scary and no fun at all. I would have never believed that I’d miss the original run of movies so much. I have no idea what the title Origins was referring to. Perhaps a hope that this movie might reboot the franchise? At least we can be thankful that didn’t happen. The next Leprechaun up would instead pitch itself as a sequel to the original. Bless us and preserve us!