DVD REVIEW: LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ZACH LIPOVSKY / SCREENPLAY: HARRIS WILKINSON / STARRING: DYLAN “HORNSWOGGLE” POSTL, STEPHANIE BENNET, ANDREW DUNBAR / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 6TH
If we are being honest, Mark Jones’ original Horror Leprechaun from 1993, despite its now cult classic status, was not a good film - neither funny nor horrific. In fact, was it not for the enigmatic commitment of Warwick Davis in the title role, the film would have been long forgotten as opposed to spawning an inexplicable franchise. Davis has been there for all 6 films in the series, which has seen the murderous little fella working his dark magic from space to ‘da hood’. However, this WWE Studios-backed reboot decides to take things to a darker tone, replacing the original film’s comedy/horror blend with full-blooded slasher-esque horror and replacing Davis’ wise (and skull) cracking Leprechaun with their own midget wrestler, Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl. Sadly, Irish eyes (or any for that matter) won’t be smiling much with a pretty pointless reboot that’s biggest achievement is that it is not quite as bad as you imagine… even if it is still bad.
The film sees a group of American students visiting a remote Irish village. When one of the villagers gives them a cabin and promise of seeing a hidden treasure of an Irish landmark, how can they refuse? However, something lurks in the landscape and this travelling holiday soon becomes a horrific battle with an old and dangerous creature. WWE Studios and Lionsgate’s attempt at reinventing the source material as a full-blooded horror is, as Bane might say, admirable but mistaken. The real problem is that Leprechaun: Origins, in spite of a mythological tint, really has nothing new to say. The reboot/remake bares no similarity with its source material and instead feels Cabin in the Woods meets The Descent, without the scares, meat and memorability of either.
In fairness though, it is safe to say that things could have been a lot worse and it is undeniably good to see the use of make-up, always much welcome over CGI and perhaps the closest factor that this reboot shares with the old school creature features it’s trying to replicate. Plus the cast are not as bad as you might expect, despite the string of highly stereotypical roles they are given. There really was a chance that something could be done here in creating a brand new mythology to the series, but Lipovsky doesn’t seem to have the hand to capture it nor Wilkinson have the edge in his script. The pre-title opening really does give the impression you are in for a right old stinker, and while some credibility is saved, there is no doubt that this reboot’s main offence is not that it is entirely meritless but that it is mostly pointless.
The unwieldy camerawork makes certain scenes pretty difficult to decipher, meaning that this might as well have been a found-footage film. In one particular car assault sequence it is almost impossible to decide whether the editing is just bad or whether there is more than one creature. The make-up may have transformed Postl but it has not saved the film, and the creature is so choppily captured that it contributes to the film’s regular knock-off, fan-made feel, especially the pre-title opening and spontaneous climax. The climax may leave the film open for sequels, and indeed the film is not entirely useless, but at less than 90 minutes in length, Leprechaun: Origins’ story still feels way overstretched and this reboot is proof that the franchise’s pot of gold is all but empty, to be sure.
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