The eighth (yes!) film in the Leprechaun series returns to its roots with a direct sequel to the original 1993 movie. While previous instalments have sent the little green monster to a casino, into the “hood” (twice) and even into space on his neverending quest to reclaim his lost gold, Returns takes us back to where it all began.
This time, a group of eco-friendly college students are renovating a farmhouse, intending to turn it into their new sorority house. They've got the solar panels set up and all that kind of stuff, but still need to find a water source. Luckily, there's a well in the yard and after testing the water they decide it's perfectly fine to use. But wait! Is this the same well that the Leprechaun himself was thrown into at the end of the very first film? Yes indeed, you bet it is! And, of course, one of the girls also happens to be the daughter of Tory, Jennifer Aniston's character from the original. What follows is a campy, silly, gory and ultimately massively enjoyable 90 minutes as the Leprechaun... erm... returns... and sets off on a killing spree that he hopes will restore his power and increase his chances of finding his gold.
When hearing the words “TV movie” and “made by Syfy” (which is what Returns is), most of us will immediately think of Sharknado and its over-reliance on ropey CGI and cheesy dialogue. Leprechaun Returns thankfully manages to buck the trend somewhat - there's still plenty of occasionally-grating daft dialogue, but CGI is used sparingly here, replaced by deliciously squishy practical effects that will delight those of a less sensitive nature.
The film is also much more well-shot than you might expect from a TV movie, and the acting is surprisingly decent all round. The script by Suzanne Keilly (Ash Vs Evil Dead) allows the cast to ham it up pretty much constantly, and you can tell everyone's having an absolute whale of a time. Mark Holton (Chubby from the Teen Wolf films) plays a pivotal part in reprising his 1993 role as Ozzie, and while many of the characters might be a little one-note (there's the uptight square, the drunk party girl etc), it's fair to say that character development isn't totally necessary in a film of this nature. Canadian actor Linden Porco takes the lead role as the Leprechaun, and more than capably fills Warwick Davies' shiny shoes. Porco's Leprechaun is as disgusting and foul-mouthed as ever (we're ignoring 2014's Origins, because that's the right thing to do), and while he's very much the bad guy, he's portrayed with such joy and glee that it's impossible not to root for him.
With some riotously inventive kills, a load of silly humour, and a few throwbacks to the original, Returns should please long-time fans of the series and newcomers alike. If over the top nonsense is your kind of thing, you really need to seek this one out. More please!
LEPRECHAUN RETURNS / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: STEVEN KOSTANSKI / SCREENPLAY: SUZANNE KEILLY / STARRING: LINDEN PORCO, TAYLOR SPREITLER, PEPI SONUGA, MARK HOLTON / RELEASE DATE: 11TH DECEMBER