Two young couples backpacking through Ireland discover that one of Ireland’s most famous legends is a terrifying reality.
Over the past decade and a half, numerous attempts have been made to help wrestling stars break into mainstream television and film. Many of these attempts have led to wrestling stars have remaining relatively unknown. Their legacy has been confined to direct-to-video projects produced by the WWE. Few have been successful beyond that. However, current stars such as Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista are paving the way for more WWE wrestlers to attempt an acting career. One of the more notable recent outings is a performance by Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl in the newest addition to the Leprechaun franchise, Leprechaun: Origins.
The Leprechaun franchise is an interesting one to reflect upon. The first six movies featured Warwick Davis as the titular character, a leprechaun that would kill anyone who got between him and his gold. That is the only thread that tied the six films together. All other forms of story continuity were thrown out with each subsequent film. Even the history of the leprechaun changed as the series progressed. He ended up in Las Vegas. He ended up in space. He ended up in the hood. Since none of the movies depended on the action depicted in the previous installments, the when and where of the events did not matter. The title Leprechaun: Origins seemed to hint at the idea of a continued mythology. That idea was not meant to be.
Leprechaun: Origins is a movie where the mistakes are present on every level. The acting is bad and the cinematography is worse. The action lacks any sense of true clarity. But the worst part of the movie comes in the form of the script. This is a very poorly written movie. It removes all of the humor that made the franchise memorable and instead becomes a generic cabin in the woods tale. The early portions of the movie gave some background to the characters and set up an emotional transformation that never paid off. The time that is not spent in the cabin with the characters is spent in a house down the street from the cabin, or running from one building to the other. However, the re-imagining of the leprechaun itself stands out as the final nail in the coffin of the franchise.
From Leprechaun through Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, the leprechaun looked like a leprechaun. It was a small man wearing the hat, jacket, and boots that you would associate with a leprechaun. His goal was to get his gold returned to him by any means necessary. And he got his revenge on the people who took his gold while spouting one-liners and rhymes. The leprechaun portrayed by Hornswoggle no longer resembles this memorable character. In Leprechaun: Origins, the villainous character looks like any old generic monster from a low-budget horror movie. Not a single word is spoken by the leprechaun throughout the runtime of the movie. It also goes after any and all gold instead of the gold taken from it. It’s an all-around boring interpretation of the character. The overhaul to the character is so large that it may well have been an entirely different character. There was absolutely no reason for Hornswoggle to play the leprechaun, as there was no way that anyone could know it was him. That is not how you reboot a series in which the villain is the reason to see it.
Without the villain being captivating, the writers should have focused on strengthening their story. But as I wrote earlier, the movie ends up feeling like a half-baked cabin in the woods movie where motivations are discarded once the action begins. Each character comes in with their own issues as the movie starts. These issues come to light in the first fifteen or so minutes of the movie as all of the pieces of the horrific puzzle are set into place. The questions are laid out for the viewer to chew on. Then the leprechaun is introduced into the story of these characters and the personal conflicts are forgotten in favor of death and gore. After the leprechaun enters their lives, the script transitions into being about their escape from the terror and in no way revisits the issues that were established. What they will lose or what they will go back to is no longer important to the story so it is no longer included in the story. There is no resolution to these small pieces of the characters’ lives. Leprechaun: Origins becomes a movie about their deaths rather than their lives, which wouldn’t be bad if they had not set up their lives beforehand.
One other thing I mentioned earlier that must be elaborated upon is the cinematography of the film. For the most part, the movie looks fine. The problems occur once the leprechaun appears and begins attacking the main characters. That is when the camera switches to a distorted first-person point of view from the leprechaun. If I had to describe the look of the first-person shots, it would be ugly. They are extremely ugly. The colors are distorted, everything is faded and stretched, and you can only half tell what is happening. Any sense of terror is removed by the ridiculous look of the attack view.
The only reason I have written this much about Leprechaun: Origins is that it is my duty to tell you whether or not the movie is any good. As a movie, it is not. Unless you are a completist, this is a movie that you should stay away from. At best, it is barely passable. It is also a terrible addition to the Leprechaun franchise, retaining none of what made the franchise fun. It’s just a waste of an hour and a half that you could spend watching something better. Leprechaun in the Hood is better. Watch that instead.