Let’s be honest. The Leprechaun series is the most ridiculous franchise in the horror genre, followed closely by The Puppet Master series. But like the Hellraiser and those Puppet Master movies, Leprechaun movies have been quietly getting made for 25 years now. To date, an unbelievable seven Leprechaun movies have made the direct-to-video rounds. Now Leprechaun is back again and, not surprisingly, it’s SyFy taking the reins.
Twenty five years ago, Tory Reding and her friends banished an evil Leprechaun into a well. Today, the same house is now owned by an eco-friendly college and a new sorority. As part of a summer project, Tory’s daughter, Lila, and her sorority sisters, are trying to turn the dilapidated cabin into off-the-grid, sustainable housing. But when an inexplicable series of events restores the Leprechaun, Lila must convince her friend that they’re in real danger.
Leprechaun Returns Offers More of the Same
To be perfectly honest, Leprechaun Returns is not a good movie. Not by any standard of the meaning of ‘good’. But what did you expect? Not one movie in the series even remotely approaches a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The fair question to ask is whether Leprechaun Returns meets expectations. Does the movie achieve the ‘so bad, it’s good’ designation? Or is it just a brutal slag for its roughly 90 minute runtime?
Does the movie achieve the ‘so bad, it’s good’ designation? Or is it just a brutal slag for its roughly 90 minute runtime?
More or less, Leprechaun Returns knows exactly what kind of movie it is. The original Leprechaun was also keenly aware of the absolutely stupidity of its own premise. If you’re watching it, there’s a good chance you know it’s a stupid idea. And this pint-sized horror movie embraces its own stupidity. Steven Kostanski directs Leprechaun Returns from a screenplay written by Suzanne Keilly. Horror fans take note – Kostanski directed the very good, The Void. Like Halloween 2018, Leprechaun Returns operates as both a soft reboot for the series and a direct sequel to the 1993 original Leprechaun. A made-for-television movie from SyFy, Leprechaun Returns is a entertainingly stupid movie. It drags a little in the middle, but is a largely streamlined B-movie that exceeds most of SyFy’s efforts.
Leprechaun Returns Benefits From Not Taking Itself Seriously
Keilly and Kostanski were clearly aiming for a Sharknado vibe. To some extent, Leprechaun Returns succeeds in replicating that same feel. This is gross-out horror comedy punctuated by over-the-top death scenes and intentionally terrible puns and limericks. As far as those death scenes and gore are concerned, it’s a mildly successful movie. No, it never reaches the heights of lunacy as gross-out horror comedy winners like The Evil Dead, Bad Taste, or Deathgasm. But Leprechaun Returns delivers more than its fair share of inventive and bloody mayhem. Characters have their heads sawed off by drones while others are sliced in half by solar panels. The ‘Leprechaun’s’ actual return involves digging himself out of another character’s body. As compared to the Sharknado series, Leprechaun Returns boasts some actually impressive practical effects.
Leprechaun Returns is all low-grade crude humour minced with some off-the-wall gory death scenes.
Admittedly, the humour is intentionally cheesy and groan-inducing. Think Freddy Krueger from later Elm Street sequels with worse source material. Forget about clever subtext or deeper meanings. After all, this is a movie about a killer Leprechaun looking for his gold. Leprechaun Returns is all low-grade crude humour minced with some off-the-wall gory death scenes. No greater ambition is at work here. Perhaps the most clever part of the whole movie is its late use of a Jennifer Aniston voice-alike.
None of the characters register in the least. To be honest, I struggled to remember the lead character’s name. Linden Porco seems to be having fun as The Leprechaun; Warwick Davis was already replaced in the previous origins movie. No offence to series’ fans, but The Leprechaun still rates a distant second to Chucky in the miniature villain department.
Leprechaun Returns Should Satisfy Fans of the Series
Is it accurate to say Leprechaun Returns represents a return to form for the series? I haven’t seen the more recent ‘origins’ story, but this latest entry felt similar in tone to the original movie. That’s neither a compliment nor an insult. You either enjoy this kind of movie or you don’t. At this point, Leprechaun Returns isn’t likely to win over new fans. But if you’ve enjoyed this series in the past, SyFy’s soft reboot should satisfy you.
THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: C+