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Leprechaun: Origins – 4

Director – Zach Lipovsky

Cast – Stephanie Bennett, Andrew Dunbar, Melissa Roxburgh, Brendan Fletcher, Garry Chalk, Teach Grant, Bruce Blain, Adam Boys, Mary Black, Emilie Ullerup

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The 1993 film Leprechaun remains one of my favorite horror films of all time. Sure it’s cheesy, but it’s fun too, and that is what matters most to me. When I first learned of Leprechaun: Origins I was intrigued because the Leprechaun series had yet to introduce a prequel, then I learned that the Origins flick had nothing to do with the Warwick Davis-starring series. Nonetheless, I hoped to enjoy this film and witness a killer Leprechaun from a different point of view, and while I received the latter I most definitely did not enjoy this effort. It’s nice to see something different, but it’s painful to watch a film as bad as Leprechaun: Origins.

Two couples backpacking through the beautiful Irish countryside unwittingly discover the gruesome secret a small town has harbored for decades, where one of Ireland’s most infamous legends proves to be a terrifying reality.

First-time writer Harris Wilkinson’s story kicks off quickly, with a few deaths during the opening sequence to set the tone. We follow the two couples as they innocently enter a small hospitable town that provides them with a cabin for the night – a kind gesture that soon proves to be of ill will. At the 27 minute mark the Leprechaun finally makes contact with our protagonists, causing havoc but not doing too much damage…yet. We learn that the town has been plagued by the Leprechaun for ages and they must provide sacrifices for it to feast on or the townsfolk will suffer the same fate. For a film with “Origins” in the title we really do not learn much about the origin of the Leprechaun, which is one big reason why you should not take this film seriously. At the 54 minute mark the horror picks up again and we finally start to see the good stuff – gore/kills. For the most part the story really does shy away from on-screen kills and it takes over an hour before the first full-frontal slaying takes place. If you are expecting a Leprechaun similar to the one in the Warwick Davis series you are definitely out of luck. This Leprechaun is more of a creature, and it does not speak at all. While the 1993 film is a fun flick this one takes itself seriously despite some very poor writing and direction. I was glad to see live gore during a few of the kills, including a spine-removal scene (ala Predator 2) that made for the best the flick had to offer. Do not be fooled by the film’s listed runtime. Whatever promotional material you come across will say that this is a 90 minute film, but it includes 12 minutes of end credits, giving you a 78 minute flick where the good stuff doesn’t really kick in until the third act, which is almost an hour in.

Director Zach Lipovsky breaks away from his TV-movie background but sadly gives us a film of poor TV-movie quality. I did enjoy his dark and gloomy atmosphere heavy in shadows and low-lighting, but everything else regarding his direction was either mediocre or sub-par. The look of the creature was OK but the execution of the beast was unfortunate. We are witness to POV filming from the creature’s point of view, which proves to be a poor decision, and his execution of the horror does not take full advantage of what his antagonist has to offer. I was glad to see live gore during the most important kill of the film, but with some of the other potentially positive ones coming via shitty CGI it was once again hard for me to take this film seriously.

Overall, Leprechaun: Origins has absolutely nothing to do with the notable series that gave Jennifer Aniston her start and birthed several outlandish sequels, but that is not a problem. The problem is the film is poorly written, executed to mediocrity, and just a waste of time / money.

Rating: 4/10

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