“Your luck just ran out”
Director: Mark Jones
Cast: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt
Synopsis: An evil, sadistic Leprechaun goes on a killing rampage in search of his beloved pot of gold.
It’s incredible that a movie as bad as Leprechaun can have spawned no less than five sequels – with a sixth due in 2014, more than 20 years after this abysmal effort was released. Leprechaun is a comedy horror movie that is neither horrific nor funny, and yet, like some bad movie monster, it simply refuses to die, resurrecting itself time and time again, so that you can’t help harbouring a sneaking admiration for the durability of the franchise. After all, they must make money, right? They wouldn’t keep making them if they didn’t.
Leprechaun opens with a rather tiddly Irishman returning home to his wife after having somehow stolen a leprechaun’s pot of gold. He believes their troubles are all behind them, but she’s not so convinced and, sure enough, it’s not long before the gold’s rightful owner comes looking for what’s his. The owner is a malevolent leprechaun who looks resplendent in a shamrock green outfit but is more than willing to murder anyone who stands between him and his pot. After the leprechaun has killed his wife, the Irishman manages to trap it in a crate on which he places a four leaf clover to ensure it can’t escape, and then dies of a stroke before he can set fire to it.
Ten years later, J. D. Reding (John Sanderford) and his spoiled, materialistic daughter, Tory (a smoking hot 22-year-old pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston) move into the house. Tory is initially disgusted by the place and insists on moving out, but then she meets Nathan (Ken Olandt), the hunky painter her father has hired to paint their new home, and suddenly has a change of heart, especially as he gently mocks her for being frightened. Unfortunately, Nathan comes complete with some typically dire comic relief in the form of Ozzie (Mark Holton), his child-like adult assistant, and Alex (Robert Gorman), his adult-like child assistant. See what they did there? Well, that’s about as sophisticated as the humour in Leprechaun gets. It takes no longer than five minutes for Ozzie to ‘hilariously’ spill paint all over himself, and when he goes inside the house to clean up he hears a child’s voice crying for help from the cellar. Needless to say, it’s not a child but that malevolent leprechaun, and when Ozzie accidentally knocks the four leaf clover from the top of the crate, the little man is free once more to resume his murderous quest for his gold.
There follows an hour or so of what can only be described as mind-numbing boredom as the leprechaun wreaks havoc. Warwick Davis does his best in the role, and actually does a decent job, but the material he’s given to work with is so lame that he can do nothing to prevent it from looking like the garbage that it is. The leprechaun’s ‘comical’ one-liners are uniformly unfunny and the gore is pretty lightweight for a horror movie with most of it confined to the occasional bite he inflicts on his victims. Apparently, Leprechaun was originally intended as a kid’s horror movie, but the producers decided to beef it up a little and target the adult market, which perhaps explains why it all has such a juvenile look about it.
The only positives to be taken from Leprechaun is a decent performance from Jennifer Aniston, whose subsequent career as a sitcom queen has somewhat distracted many from her abilities as an actress, and the make up for the little creature himself, which is by far and away the movie’s biggest selling point. But, clearly, an agreeably gnarled and gruesome face isn’t enough to carry an entire movie, and once he’s made his appearance, if you have any sense, you’ll soon be reaching for the stop button.
(Reviewed 16th November 2013)