The “Leprechaun” franchise is one of horror’s most beloved. A demonic little person runs around in a crazy costume, spouting off one-liners with an Irish accent, and killing people? That’s a recipe for horror gold! Warwick Davis has made himself a horror hero with that gruesome gold-searcher. And the series has always done well, spawning a total of 7 films.
I’ll say it from the outset: the latest film, “Leprechaun: Origins,” is the best to date. Synopsis: Two young couples backpacking through Ireland discover that one of Ireland’s most famous legends is a terrifying reality (courtesy IMDB).
I have something else I need to say; I need to get it off my chest. I am starting to really love the WWE. My cousins watched it throughout my childhood, but I never paid much notice. Then I fell in love: my husband and his three brothers all love the WWE, and I have watched more wrestling in the past year than I can remember. If you’d asked me at 18 if that would be a good thing, I would have confidently said, “wrestling sucks.” But now, at 28, I think I can appreciate it more and I’ll be damned if I don’t love it! So I was very intrigued when the WWE inked a 2-picture deal with the “Leprechaun” people to reboot the series.
Now, some schooling, because if nothing else, I am a teacher. WWE Studios is not new to the movie business. And they’re not new to horror. In fact, 9 of their 30 films have been horror/thriller movies. The most notable of these are “The Scorpion King,” “Oculus,” and the “See No Evil” movies (reviews of the “See No Evil” sequel and “Oculus” are coming soon!). Truthfully, any time I see WWE as a production credit, I get excited, because they make quality films, just like the rebuilt Hammer label. If you want something other than a new “Saw” movie or rehashed franchises, like you’ll get with Platinum Dunes (although those movies are great), look for what Hammer and the WWE is putting out. Seriously.
But I digress – back to the review.
“Origins” is set in Ireland, which everyone collectively applauded – FINALLY someone did it! And finally someone rebooted a series in a way that wasn’t just a remake of the original. This movie is completely different from the Jennifer Aniston original. I’m being very truthful today, so here’s admission number three: I hate that first movie. It’s predictable and Aniston’s acting is awful (though that’s not unusual). The best part of the first movie is Davis’ portrayal of the actual Leprechaun. That’s not the case with this movie. It’s well-written, clever, full of suspense, action, and just the right amount of gore, and, I am pleased to say, is really quite clean, which I am appreciating more and more. There is hardly any sex or cursing – in fact, the most blatant offense (dialogue in homage to the original) is almost out of place because the film is so solid without such nonsense. Wait, what’s that you say? I haven’t mentioned the actual leprechaun yet? You want to know about the monster? I’ll get to that.
This movie is awesomely written. If you’re going to talk about an Irish curse, then make a movie about an Irish curse! And of course, no curse is without cause, and the back story of this is thrilling. As the drama unfolds, there are layers and layers that unravel and build because of how the people involved react to the horrors that befall them or they are caused to enforce, and it is so real that I actually forgot I was watching a movie. I was so involved with the characters, like a well-written novel. So big props to you, Harris Wilkinson, you wrote the best “remake” movie of 2014. Plus, the acting is really above par for a “genre” film, even if Brendan Fletcher isn’t at his best. Garry Chalk (from “Godzilla,” “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” the voice of OPTIMUS PRIME, and “Watchmen”) doesn’t mess around as the patriarch and our final girl, portrayed by Stephanie Bennett, is awesome. She gets major points for playing a final girl without all the typical garbage.
And, of course, no movie about a leprechaun would be complete without a little guy in green-striped socks, a green fedora, little green suit, shamrock decals, and claws. Wait… wait… nope, this movie’s leprechaun only has claws and it is AMAZING. In this film, the leprechaun is a demon with a thirst for gold that can only be quenched by a feeding frenzy of metal and blood. Plus, it’s a clever demon, even though its vision is in full Predator mode, and watching it toy with its victims is disturbingly delicious (yes, I made a Lucky Charms reference). Unlike most other WWE films, its superstar isn’t front and center, all buff and action-hero like. You don’t get to see much of Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, but that’s what makes it so good and so real.
All in all, this movie is one you should locate immediately and watch. Or, better yet, just buy it, because it’s amazing and you’ll love it. If you buy it and don’t like it, send me your copy. I will not be mad if I end up with 15 copies of this laying around my house.
Rating: 5 out of 5 skulls (with gold fillings extracted, of course)