Leprechaun: Origins Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Directed by Zach Lipovsky
Written by Harris Wilkinson
2014, 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 6th October 2014
Stephanie Bennett as Sophie
Andrew Dunbar as Ben
Melissa Roxburgh as Jeni
Brendan Fletcher as David
I don't know about you, but upon hearing the word 'leprechaun', just about the last thing that comes to mind is wrestling, wrestlers or the WWE. That's about to change with the mystifying existence of Leprechaun: Origins, produced by WWE Films and (allegedly) starring wrestler Dylan Postl (aka Hornswoggle) as its leprechaun. Move over Warwick Davis, this movie brings us a leprechaun who could genuinely kick your arse.
While Gerard Butler playing a leprechaun in Movie 43 proved that there can be entertainment value to having tough guys portray the folklore creature (it's about the only entertaining thing in Movie 43), Origins determinedly rejects that idea by completely wasting any and every opportunity for fun that comes its way. Don't expect to see Postl don Warwick's little green jacket and top hat – indeed, don't expect to see much at all – the leprechaun here looks more like Pumpkinhead or the rubbish human/alien hybrid of Alien: Resurrection than it does a leprechaun. This is a Leprechaun movie that is too ashamed to be a Leprechaun movie and too lazy to go off and do its own thing.
The story sees two typically beautiful young American couples backpacking through rural Ireland, passing through a small town (so small it doesn't even have pavement, apparently) and stopping off in the local pub. There, the suspiciously friendly locals offer the kids a place to stay – an old cabin (you guessed it) by the woods. Apparently not put off by their landlord furiously firing his shotgun into the nearby shrubbery, the kids settle in for the night. To the film's credit, there's no meandering between this and the leprechaun's first attack. It's as though screenwriter Harris Wilkinson knew full well that no-one is really interested in the preliminaries – it's a refreshingly direct movie.
Unfortunately, that direction is rapidly downhill, making Leprechaun: Origins one of the worst horror films of 2014. It might even be the worst, depending on how many found footage nightmares and Syfy features the year has left in store. This isn't a rabid Warwick Davis-era Leprechaun fanboy speaking either – it's fun trash, but I can take or leave it – Origins is a bad film by anyone's standards. It's ugly (featuring a distinctly grey Ireland), loud and entirely humourless. A grim and gritty Leprechaun could work, but only ironically – picture Warwick Davis running amok in a supposedly serious horror film – this one categorically doesn't. It takes a special kind of incompetence to hire a wrestler with a stage name like 'Hornswoggle' and then not let him do anything remotely interesting.
Origins is precisely as bad as its reputation suggests. It's a bad reboot, a bad entry in the Leprechaun franchise and a bad movie in general. Even the recent See No Evil 2 made a better go of it than this, largely managing to succeed at what it set out to do within its limited scope of ambition. This, on the other hand, fails spectacularly, leaving nu-Leprechaun floundering in its own origins story.
If I sound bitter, that's because Leprechaun: Origins actively angered me. I feel robbed and cheated by this cheap, lazy waste of a movie. WWE Films owes me a goddamn leprechaun.