Leprechaun (1993)

Leprechaun (1993)

Your luck just ran out.

Ten years ago, a greedy businessman named O’Grady steals a pot of gold from a leprechaun and flees to America. The leprechaun purses him but eventually O’Grady manages to seal him away in his house with the assistance of a four-leaf clover. Years later and after O’Grady’s death, Tory and her father move into the vacant house and the leprechaun is accidentally released. Still eager to find his gold, he sets about killing anyone in his way.

 

For those of you who’ve ever seen Wayne’s World 2, you’ll fondly remember the skit where Wayne pretends to be the leprechaun to scare Garth. He does a really cheesy impression of the little Irish fellow, shouting “I’m the leprechaun! Don’t try to steal me pot o’ gold!” Well unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get that amusing caricature out of my head when I finally sat down to watch this. Leprechaun has a really silly idea which is stretched out as long as it could possibly be. Maybe a brief comedy segment would have worked as part of an anthology story but as a full feature film, it’s just too gimmicky and wears out its welcome way too early.

Leprechaun isn’t the sort of horror-comedy that everyone will like. It’s dumb. In fact it’s more than dumb, it’s brain dead. It tries too hard to play the goofball card and it pays off but at the expense of any credibility or seriousness that the idea may have generated in the first place. Think of the silly sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street where the special effects took over and the comedy aspects of Freddy Kruger’s character were thrust into the spotlight. Well multiply that by about a thousand and you’ll get how cringe-worthy some of the comedy in this flick is.

In fact Wayne’s impression was a lot scarier than this little annoying Freddy Kruger-wannabe. The leprechaun is too hard to take seriously enough as a bad guy because a) he’s a short arse and b) he’s too damned funny dressed up and spouting one-liners and limericks, most of which are offensively Irish-stereotype. Not that I’m complaining because it’s just funny seeing how low someone will go to take a pop at another culture. The Irish are completely hammered in this one. However the leprechaun has super powers as well – he can appear and disappear at will, re-grow limbs, imitate voices, hotwire cars and a lot more. Along with the bad puns, it’s a lethal combo for the wrong reasons.

With a shocking script at his disposal, poor Warwick Davis not only comes off sounding like a fool, but dressed up like one too. Truth be told, Davis is the best bit of the film and the entire franchise for that matter. He’s having a lot of fun in the role and is so convincing at times that you’ll wonder whether he actually is a leprechaun masquerading as a person. There are sight gags galore as he drives around in a toy car, spins downhill in a wheelchair and bounces around on a pogo stick (and actually kills someone in what must be a first ‘death by pogo stick’ moment in horror). The leprechaun has also got a shoe-cleaning fetish so whenever he sees dirty shoes, he immediately stops whatever he’s doing and starts cleaning, even if it means his victims get away. It’s daft but pivotal in one major chase scene.

Leprechaun was Jennifer Aniston’s first film and it shows. Her performance isn’t great but she looks youthful, hot and surprisingly, doesn’t play the exact same character that she plays in every one of her recent rom-coms. I’m amazed she got any sort of meaningful role after this one. However I’m probably only being as harsh on her for the fame she’s had since hitting it big and if she’d have just floundered in low budget drivel for the rest of her career, then her performance here wouldn’t really have been as obvious.

Something that is obvious is the blatant lack of gore. This is a cheesy, goofy horror film and yet there’s little in the way of blood and guts. This was something that would be corrected in later sequels but given that the plot is immensely daft and we are dealing with a killer leprechaun, I’m sure a rush of the red stuff would have been a most welcome addition to the cheese factor. Might as well go the whole hog and throw in some breasts! I still can’t believe that this was so popular that it spawned a slew of sequels. It’s campy and daft but not in the good sense like Jack Frost. It’s not even in the ‘so bad it’s good’ category because at times, it’s almost impossible to sit through.

 

Leprechaun is stupid, not very funny, not scary in the slightest and a complete waste of time – someone’s lucky charms clearly ran out when this was made. And what review of this film would be a review without quoting the immortal lines of Wayne once again: “I’m the leprechaun! Don’t try to steal me pot o’ gold!”

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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