Leprechaun is a bit of a rags to riches horror flick. Despite being horribly received and critically reviled, it was a decent box office success and went on to spawn five sequels, a prequel, and a reboot. It's a goofy, ridiculous, poorly-written movie, but thanks to Warwick Davis's committed performance, you can't help but just accept it. After all, if you're watching Leprechaun, it's your fault. I've definitely seen better, but I have seen so much worse too.
Tory (Aniston) is a valley girl who is inexplicably moving to North Dakota with her dad, who disappears halfway through the movie. What they don't know is that ten years prior, an Irish chap named O'Grady (Duffin) trapped a leprechaun (Davis) in the basement and stole his gold. After accidentally letting him out, the leprechaun goes on a rampage looking for the gold. There's surprisingly little murder for a horror film, and the leprechaun seems so easy to dispatch. He's often times just knocked over. Not much of a threat there. Still, the climactic battle between our heroes and the little Irish bastard isn't too bad, even if the body count could've been higher.
Leprechaun is a cult favorite now, mostly because there's not a lot of non-romcom films to watch on St. Patrick's Day. It could've used more gore, higher stakes, and I think a lot less humor. I understand what they were trying to do, but the humor dumbs the film down, mostly because it doesn't really work. I'll probably check out the sequels at some point because of the podcast, but I'm not really in any hurry to do so.
Some horror films come out and don’t really seem to connect with an audience. They achieved a modest amount of success at the box office and develop a cult following. But, somehow, these films end up spawning some of horror’s more longer running franchises. Some notable examples being Wrong Turn, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and the star of this review, Leprechaun. A film which you would think would have just come and gone without second thought. Yet, it would go on to spawn five sequels, a prequel, and, more recently, a Halloween 2018 style sequel. So, what is it about this film which made which made the Leprechaun one of horror’s more well-known villains? I’ll tell you this much, it’s a good question.
I think it’s safe to say a big reason for this film's, and the series as a whole, success is Warwick Davis as our title character. He delivers a consistently great performance where he mixes scares and humor with tremendous ease. It’s easy to see why he’s become a horror icon because of this role. Behind him, you got Mark Holton who delivers an endearing performance as simpleton Ozzie. He does bring a certain warmth to the picture. As you probably saw in the cast listing, a young Jennifer Aniston is in this. While she herself is good, her character is downright annoying in the beginning of the film. Which is weird considering she is the main character. Besides them, the rest of the cast is pretty bland. There is also not a whole lot of death scenes in what is, essentially, a slasher film. With that said, the part where a character dies by a pogo stick is certainly memorable and actually pretty cool.
Leprechaun isn’t terrible. Not like the sequels, at least. But it’s not great, either. On one hand, Warwick Davis delivers an iconic performance and the pogo kill scene is memorable. But, on the other hand, there is a surprising little amount of death scenes and the humor usually doesn’t work. But, I do see why this has achieved cult status and become a staple of many horror fans on St. Paddy’s Day.