So, we come to the end of yet another horror franchise. I can say with some degree of certainty that this will be the last “Leprechaun” movie – current rights holders WWE Films recently fired their only midget wrestler, and the star of this movie (apparently), Dylan Postl, Warwick Davis hopefully has enough Ricky Gervais money to not need to demean himself again, and this movie was a poorly received failure so that ought to discourage any fools in future.
Continuing the tradition of part 6, this is now a straight-up slasher movie, with all the classic building blocks.
- A pre-credits kill for our (offscreen) baddie (this one featuring Emilie Ullerup, of “Arctic Air” and “Sanctuary”, a much better actor than anyone in the main body of the movie).
- A “Meet the Meat” section
- Four stereotypes – the obvious Final Girl, the jock boyfriend, the party girl, and the goofy guy
- Mysterious locals!
- A goddamn cabin in the woods
- Running and screaming while they get picked off
Four American college students, backpacking round Ireland. Oh, sorry, “Oireland”, because this is some sorry-looking excuse for a country. The village they’re visiting, which is in a guidebook, has no roads going to it and no form of transportation better than being dropped off in the back of a truck a few miles outside. But what are those mysterious monoliths the driver won’t go past?
A local in the pub tells them about a cave, full of amazing stone sculptures (their visit is sort of to look at Celtic artifacts) and offers to give them a ride out there the next morning. In the meantime, this apparent tourist destination has no hotels of any kind, but he has a cabin out in the woods they can stay in? What a generous fellow! Both couples have a nice argument (Final Girl and Jock, because he wants to move to the other side of the country for college; party girl and goof because he gets too drunk to have sex) and then a creature starts attacking them.
Up to about the hour mark, I was convinced that the thing we were seeing wasn’t the Leprechaun at all, but some minion who was killing and taking any gold they might have back to its master. But no, bearing as little resemblance to ancient legend as Warwick Davis’ version, is a burned-looking creature with a monstrous skull and a wolf-like throaty growl. Now, I don’t think there’s any need to have a wrestling-famous person under those many layers of make-up (he has zero lines of dialogue) unless you’re Andy Serkis, and Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl is no Andy Serkis. I presumed the movie was at least partly to promote one of their wrestlers, but if you weren’t paying attention through the credits, you could be forgiven for not realising this had anything to do with WWE at all. Also, we barely ever see Lep and one of the other characters in the same shot, so his shortness or otherwise is entirely irrelevant – yes, the air of “why bother?” hangs heavy over proceedings.
But I’ve not even finished recapping yet! Well, it’s going to be more “here’s a dumb thing this movie does”, but the effect will be the same. It turns out the locals have been feeding tourists to it for years – what might be the next door cabin or the same cabin filmed very confusingly has piles of glasses, shoes and clothes in it. They seem at least a little conflicted about doing this, but…tourists have families, and in 2014 people tend to broadcast their lives a lot – did no police officers visit this town? Did the hundreds of deaths not become news? If they just wanted rid of the creature, why not set up cameras, get a shot of it and send the photo to one of those “Bigfoot Hunters” shows? A few TV people die and you’ve got yourself an international story, and a greater likelihood of properly trained people coming and taking care of the problem for you (unlike previous movies, this Lep doesn’t seem supernaturally powerful). They say, several times, that they’re providing food for Lep, but he kills several people and just leaves their bodies lying around, and how much food can a leprechaun need anyway?
What is, perhaps, best of all though, is the title. If I was going to make a movie called “Leprechaun: Origins”, I might, just might, put something about the origin of the leprechaun in it. But WWE Films are not ordinary filmmakers! Final Girl reads from a handily abandoned book of Celtic legend in the cabin and discusses, briefly, ‘Tuatha Dé Danann’ and says they’re what we call leprechauns. No! They’re the ancient magical kings and queens of Ireland…the thing with the word is, it actually comes from Gaelic so would be, roughly, the same. I’m dumb as hell and I knew that! Also, the love of gold thing is crowbarred in there, with an exceptionally flimsy “our mining for gold disturbed him” story, even though it’s completely meaningless to the plot and the Lep in this movie doesn’t look like he’s got any use for the stuff.
The acting is extremely bland, with the mostly Canadian supporting cast handling Irish accents okay but the four stars…well, it’s the next morning and I couldn’t pick any of them out of a lineup. Given no-one is going to see this garbage anyway, why doesn’t one company take a few casting risks and not just hire the first four skinny vaguely attractive people to walk through the door? And a word about WWE casting. They have (or at least had, when this was made) a real Irish wrestler on the roster, who could have been used in a few scenes – instead they use a guy who’s completely hidden under makeup and has no lines. Okay, I guess?
Leaving the pre-credits kills out, no-one dies til almost an hour in, and even then it’s the least important of the supporting characters – we also don’t see a full-on shot of Lep til then too. The last 20 minutes is chock full of death, but by that time I’d sort of mentally checked out because the first two-thirds is so unbearably dull. How much setup did this damned story need anyway? Oh, and fans of odd credits will have something to enjoy, because despite the crew of this movie being fairly small, the credits go on for 12 minutes! When the drivers names are on screen for a solid minute, you know someone was desperately trying to pad things out to get it to feature length.
Honestly, this made me miss Warwick Davis and his quips. In a series as rotten as this one’s been, I’m impressed it manages to find new depths to plumb. If you have to, absolutely have to, pick one of them to watch, go for part 3 and then run away.
Rating: thumbs down