Once the direct-to-video franchise had been to the ‘hood’ and then to outer space, there wasn’t much left to do but reboot the whole thing. Afterall, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had already gone the reboot route. And the Leprechaun series was barely a B-level horror franchise from its silly first entry that’s more guilty pleasure than good movie. Most horror fans probably didn’t notice that WWE Studios released Leprechaun Origins to a handful of theaters in 2014 before putting it on VOD platforms. Given how poorly received it was by critics, that was probably a good thing.
College student Sophie and her friends, Ben, Jeni, and David, are backpacking across the Irish countryside. For Sophie, the trip represents a chance to study the country’s history and legends for her own research. When the friends happen upon a small village, they’re initially greeted warmly. But they quickly learn that the village’s resident intend to offer them as a sacrifice to a legend – a Tuatha De Danann. A leprechaun.
Leprechaun Origins …
No one was ever going to confuse any of the Leprechaun movies for a scary horror movie. Still the original movie and its follow-ups never pretended to be anything more than campy takes on slasher movies. In contrast, director Zach Lipovsky (Freaks) made the reboot with the explicit intent of delivering a gritty, frightening slasher movie. Writers Harris Wilkinson and Sholom Galt sort of under basic slasher requisites. Following a prologue warning audiences of the dangers in the Irish countryside, the first half follows a template intended to generate suspense. As Leprechaun Origins hits its back half, Lipovsky et al. dutifully attempt an ‘and there were none’ chase through poorly lit wilderness and cabins.
Whether you liked the original movie, it was at least silly fun. But the reboot is just dull and lazy.
However, Leprechaun Origins misses out on just about everything else associated with slasher movies, or good horror in general. Specifically, Lipovsky fails to generate even simple jump scares amidst a void of atmosphere and suspense. Though it’s difficult to see what’s happening in many of the scene we can assume that it’s not very much. In addition to missing scares, Leprechaun Origins doesn’t turn in much in the way of traditional slasher gore, light or otherwise. Whether you liked the original movie, it was at least silly fun. But the reboot is just dull and lazy.
Leprechaun Origins Forgets to Deliver a Compelling … Leprechaun
Lipovsky and his creative just had one job – give us a fun leprechaun. Maybe Leprechaun Origins didn’t have to follow the same campy tone of its inspiration. In fact, reboots should exist to offer a fresh take on a familiar property. And Warwick Davis’ version of the Irish legend had an admittedly narrow appeal. Yet instead of breathing new life into the myth, the reboot delvers a largely unseen and definitely underwhelming take on the character. By and large, this leprechaun – which looks like a poorly rendered version of the ‘crawlers’ from The Descent – barely factors into this scare-free horror movie. Even if you didn’t like the original movies, you’ll be begging for Warwick Davis to come back.
Yet instead of breathing new life into the myth, the reboot delvers a largely unseen and definitely underwhelming take on the character.
Unfortunately, the human cast of Leprechaun Origins doesn’t fare much better through not fault of their own. WWE superstar Dylan Postl (Hornswoggle) plays the titular character. Postl’s casting makes Lipovsky’s creative choices even more baffling. That is, Postl knows how to play silly but he’s left with no dialogue and is totally unrecognizable. On the plus side, Stephanie Bennett (Grave Encounters 2), Andrew Dunbar (There’s Someone Inside Your House), Brendan Fletcher (Violent Night), and Melissa Roxburgh are all perfectly fine. Specifically, the run, trip, and scream on cue.
Leprechaun Origins a Dull and Pointless Attempt at a Reboot
None of the Leprechaun movies are good in any traditional or objective sense. At best the original Leprechaun is a guilty pleasure sort of horror movie that blends a ridiculous premise with juvenile humor. Most of the sequels are just plain bad. Only Leprechaun in the Hood almost achieves that same guilty pleasure sense of fun. If these movies are of the campy variety, Leprechaun Origins is bad in an incredibly bland way. Absolutely nothing about this slasher reboot stands out. Neither scary nor shocking, Leprechaun Origins is a lazy effort in every way. Arguably, it’s biggest accomplishment is draining the original of its most fun part – the actual leprechaun.