Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (2003)

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Trying desperately to think of something non-mocking to say about the last of the “classic” Leprechaun movies, it’s pretty rare to see a horror movie with an almost entirely (or even substantially) black cast. The only ones that come to mind are more comedies than they are horrors (“Vampire In Brooklyn” and “Scary Movie”) and while there’s no genre of cinema that hasn’t been guilty of whitewashing, horror seems particularly susceptible to it. If there’s more than one black person in a cast, they’re related to each other, and black people only date other black people. It’s garbage and should stop, but while we’re fighting for that better world, we can rather bizarrely give the last two Leprechaun movies some credit.

 

It turns out this was going to be set on a tropical island for Spring Break, and was only converted to “tha hood” when production company Lion’s Gate insisted. Director Steven Ayromlooi has made several movies with majority black casts since, so even though he looks like the sleaziest guy in the world in his publicity photos, our hats are doffed to him – although, it would’ve been nice if he’d not made such a thoroughly awful instalment.

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In what must be a joke, we’re treated to yet another origin story for leprechauns! They were created to guard an ancient king’s gold, but when he died most of them went back into the earth. Only one of them stuck around, causing trouble down the millennia; but before the opening credits, even he breathes his last, with four-leaf-clover-infused holy water and an incantation causing him to get dragged into the ground by a large number of unseen creatures (ending of “Jason Goes To Hell” style). His pot of gold is stuck in the cellar of an abandoned building site – a centre for kids – and don’t worry about the location, because even though you think someone’s going to spend some of that gold to build the place up again and save the community, no-one does. It at least follows on from part 5 with the juiciness of its red herrings.

 

The plot is about rival groups of drug dealers and the couple of normal women stuck in the middle. Everyone is so painfully bland that I can’t even be bothered to look up their character names – there’s Goofy Stoner, Ex-Boyfriend Dealer, Decent Woman A, Decent Woman B, and Scumbag Drug Gang. Decent Woman A, after being warned by a fortune teller to beware of easy fortune, finds the pot of gold, shares it with her friends, and they all spend it before the leprechaun emerges, dragging himself from hell because it’s a film and that’s what needs to happen for yet another sequel. There’s a huge section just following them spending their money, lots of encounters with Bad Drug Gang, and an almost excruciating last half hour where they beat up the Leprechaun, he looks dead, then he gets up and beats them up, repeat ad nauseam. There’s some slapstick where Lep re-discovers how much he likes weed, should that be your cup of tea.

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What’s moderately surprising about this movie is that Leprechaun decided, on its last instalment, to become a slasher movie. The beats are exactly the same – legend of the killer, meet the meat, fun and games, death death death, Final Girl, end. Leprechaun doesn’t seem all that bothered about getting his gold back, or indeed anything other than killing – what stands out is how few lines Warwick Davis as ol’ Lep has. Did they only hire him at the last minute so he didn’t have time to learn all that rhyming wordplay? Or did the writer just not care? He speaks as much as the average slasher villain but not as much as the average wordy Irish forest spirit, is what I’m saying.

 

It’s so thoroughly “nothing” that I can barely summon up the energy to have any reaction to it at all. The laziness shows through in two important police-related scenes. First up, Goofy Stoner is arrested about halfway through the movie and the others say they’ll do everything they can to get him out. Then, a couple of minutes later, he just pulls up in a car like he’s been on holiday, and it’s never mentioned again. Then…one of the other characters (no spoilers) is arrested near the end, but the cops die, then a bunch of other people die. But because he survived a horror movie (okay, slight spoiler) legal problems just disappear and all is well. And why do characters in horror movies never learn that if you empty a rifle into someone and they get up, that second rifle full of bullets probably isn’t going to work?

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We’ve got one more to go – 2014’s “Leprechaun: Origins”, produced by WWE Films and starring wrestler Hornswoggle (who, along with a gimmick called “The World’s Sexiest Midget”, was also a wrestling leprechaun for a while), and then hopefully that will be that, because he violated the WWE’s “wellness policy” (by failing to provide a urine sample in timescale) and was fired earlier this year. What a terrible bloody series this has been, and urine is a fine point to end on.

 

Rating: thumbs down

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