Leprechaun (1993)


What the heck did I just watch? And there’s six more of the damn things! Were it not for “Witchcraft” reigning supreme as the most miserable of all the horror franchises, this would be right down there, but “well, it’s a bit better than Witchcraft” is almost the definition of damning with faint praise.


It feels a lot like “Critters”, if we’re comparing it to movies we’ve already covered, only “Critters” without any of the fun or scares. And, y’know, it was made 7 years after that, and horror/comedy really ought to have progressed by then. This feels like a garbage mid 80s movie and spending the time to write about it is starting to annoy me a bit so I’d better get on. But seriously, it’s awful and a complete misfire.


We get the legend of the leprechaun thanks to a guy called O’Grady, as Irish a stereotype as you’ll ever see, who in the early 80s goes back to Ireland and manages to capture one of the fellas, who’s then obliged by ancient rules to tell him where his pot of gold is. So O’Grady manages to get a huge bag of gold and a magic creature in a box through customs (pre 9/11, things were easier, I guess) only to suffer a stroke before he can burn our leprechaun friend. I think his wife dies at this point, but mercifully my brain has started rejecting information from this movie already. The leprechaun is trapped in a box with a four-leaf clover put on top, so all is well and will remain well forever, clearly.


Fast forward ten years, and a new family have moved in to the old O’Grady house.  The Dad is window-dressing, and the only person modern audiences will be interested in is a young Jennifer Aniston, very obviously head and shoulders above the rest of the cast and 100% ready for the stardom that would come her way very soon on “Friends”. She’s the daughter, and is a snooty city girl, wanting to leave this rural hellhole…until she meets hunky painter Nathan (Ken Olandt, “April Fools Day”) and his two co-workers, smart child Alex and dumb adult Ozzie – Ozzie is almost offensively stupid, with an unspecified disability that, were this film better, would be offensive to every disabled group. So she decides to stay, but Alex and Ozzie both find the bag of gold and accidentally free the leprechaun, and all hell breaks loose.


If, that is, by “all hell”, you mean a guy who can’t do an Irish accident (Warwick Davis as the titular character) running around and cackling and demanding his gold back approximately every 30 seconds throughout the entire rest of the movie. The people “trapped” in the house try and call the police, but because Ozzie has complained about UFOs and all sorts in the past (because he’s disabled hahaha) they don’t believe them and just don’t bother turning up. So eventually they give him his money back but one of the coins is missing so he just carried on terrorising them.


God, I hated this movie. There’s no tension or sense of danger at any point, and the comedy which was injected into the movie at Davis’ insistence is painfully bad. Aniston is great, Olandt is okay, but the kid is terrible and given he sort of started the whole thing, it would’ve been nice to see him get his comeuppance (spoiler: he doesn’t, because he’s a kid in a mainstream movie). All that really happens is a bunch of supporting characters die in moderately gruesome ways while our stars are all fine. The eyeball replacement scene is pretty decent gore, I suppose.


On the technical side, this is the directing debut for one Mark Jones, who’s best known as a jobbing TV writer – “The A Team”, other 80s classics – who still occasionally directs (his next job after this was “Rumpelstiltskin”, which feels similar enough that some executive probably gave him the job because of this experience).


I’m seriously considering not doing the rest of the series, although…part 4 is set in space, and parts 5 and 6 are both “in tha hood”, which will no doubt be extremely sensitive portrayals of the trials and tribulations of modern black America. With a leprechaun in it! So maybe I’ll stick with it. But seriously, don’t watch this under any circumstances.


Rating: thumbs down