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Leprechaun: Origins

tn_leprechaunoriginsWWEstudiosThis is gonna be short and mean, like a leprechaun. To be frankly honest I almost didn’t try to write a review of this one, because I didn’t think I had much to say. But I decided it was my moral obligation to warn everybody. The only thing necessary for LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS to triumph is for men who have already seen LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS to do nothing.

Let’s be realistic. This is the LEPRECHAUN series. You and I, we are not devastated or surprised that the new LEPRECHAUN movie is not good. We weren’t expecting it to be, we weren’t even wanting it to be. But one thing we did expect, in my opinion, was it to be a movie that had a leprechaun in it. When you really think about it, that is one of the number one things tying all the previous movies together. “Has a leprechaun in it” has always been one of the steadfast rules of the franchise. Until now.

I have been a supporter of the prestigious WWE Films since day 1, and day 1 was another dumb horror movie, SEE NO EVIL. I don’t think that movie got very many good reviews. It’s not scary or anything and you hate the most of the good guy characters and there is plenty to complain about, but I kind of loved its lurid tastelessness and ridiculous premise of a giant mentally handicapped dude (played by a wrestler) who collects eyeballs and was raised to be so sexually repressed that he decided to create a complex series of pulleys and bells that will warn him if the matresses in his abandoned hotel are being used for sex so he can go kill the participants. And it ended with a dog peeing in his eye socket (SPOILER). So when WWE bought the LEPRECHAUN series I think it was reasonable to hope that their remake or reboot or freshquel would have a little bit of that attitude. LEPRECHAUN should be trashy fun, right?

mp_leprechaunoriginsThat’s not what they were going for I guess. This is a serious movie with very little humor or fun of any kind. It’s competently made, at times well shot, pretty nice lighting and lots of fog. The opening unseen-monster attack has some pretty cool EVIL DEAD-like shots of a victim literally being dragged kicking and screaming through a field in Ireland (Vancouver, BC). There is nothing in it that’s funny-bad, but not that much that’s worth-mentioning-good.

Okay, one part is worth mentioning. Some of the protagonists have axes out ready to defend themselves from an impending “leprechaun” attack, suddenly there’s movement but instead of a little guy coming out of the fireplace it’s their friend sliding out of it and it happens so fast that they just THWACK the ax right through the poor girl’s face and it is very graphically shown on screen. Good job on that one.

Otherwise it’s a completely generic monster movie. A group of young American tourists visit a pub in a small Irish town and are whining about their grad school plans when an old local overhears them talking about studying history and convinces them to come stay in his cabin and learn from him about the history of the town or whatever.

Okay, I said there wasn’t much humor, but it is kinda funny when these nitwits realize that there’s only one door and it’s locked from the outside and all of the windows are covered in bars and they are basically locked in a box as an offering to the snarling creature ripping through the grass outside that their Irish friends said was a warthog. When they get out it chases them around and they scream and during quiet moments they do research about Celtic legends about it or whatever. At one point a lady they met at the pub seems to rescue them and drive them away but she gets out of the car and again they have been locked in a box to be fed to the leprechaun. See, I like these Irish people.

I will say this for the cast: one of the guys I knew I had seen before. It turned out he was in FREDDY VS. JASON. I like FREDDY VS. JASON. That’s the kinda of dumb horror absurdity I can be okay with. Good job being in that movie before, guy I recognized.

But the movie needs more than just people running away from a growling, unseen thing that makes the tall grass move. That’s what it is for the first 50 minutes or so, and admittedly it’s mildly amusing to imagine that it’s a little guy in a hat that they’re so afraid of. But when you see what it actually is that’s when you realize the problem here. It turns out they haven’t been running from a leprechaun, it’s an actual monster with kind of a Nosferatu/skull head, sharp teeth and blind eyes. Not a little person, a beast, like a chupacabra or a W.U.F. from THE DESCENT. A pretty cool monster but, again, not a leprechaun.

Now, it’s possible that director Zach Lipovsky (who directed TASMANIAN DEVILS for the SyFy Channel) was trying to pull a John Hyams and reimagine the series in an unexpectedly serious and thoughtful way, with this monster instead of a leprechaun. But he doesn’t have the chops of Hyams and doesn’t succeed in making a quality horror movie, so he must be held accountable for not having made a leprechaun movie. Until now, even in the worst LEPRECHAUN movie you knew you were gonna have the absurdity of people running from a little guy in a green hat who steals gold. Or of such a creature being on a space ship killing space marines. Or going after rappers who sampled his magic flute.

None of these movies are as good or as funny as you’d hope, but at least you could count on that one stupid thing. A leprechaun can liven up anything. A WWII battle with a leprechaun. A western with a leprechaun. Kull the Lepreconqueror. Leprechaun Air. Only a leprechaun can protect the president. JUST HAVE A LEPRECHAUN! That is the one important thing and these jokers didn’t do it.

Part of the fun of the other ones, if you consider them fun at all, is Warwick Davis being a smartass, saying stupid Freddy lines and rhyming and stuff. It’s just so stupid. You would think they’d still want to do that with their new leprechaun, but it’s fine if they want to give him a different personality. I just wish they’d made him talk! We don’t got alot to work with with these good guys, so the villain should have more character than a pitbull.

It’s especially weird because from what I gather the whole reason WWE bought the LEPRECHAUN franchise was to have a vehicle for this guy “Hornswoggle,” a little person wrestler who is apparently popular with kids and whose trademark is dressing as a leprechaun. I knew it was gonna be him instead of Warwick Davis, and I’m not familiar with him so I wasn’t sure how good he would be. But now I have to wonder, is it really him in the suit? You don’t ever see his face or body shape or hear his voice. How would anyone know? The way they shoot it I couldn’t even tell what size it is, if I had to guess I would not lean toward there being a little person inside the costume. I know it’s not giant but it doesn’t look that small either.

Even if you come from a culture that counts a naked growling bat monster as being a leprechaun there is still no justification for calling it LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS. It’s not a prequel, it doesn’t have flashbacks, and this monster has existed for a long time, it is not originating during this story. I don’t get it. It’s not like anybody really wanted to see the origins of the leprechaun, and the sort of person who did care what the backstory is would already know that they told it in the prologue of LEPRECHAUN BACK 2 THE HOOD.

So why lie and call it LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS? Why not WWE STUDIOS PRESENTS HISTORY VACATION: IRISH MONSTER GUY or something. What ever happened to honor? Don’t fall for this lepre-con.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 2:08 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

25 Responses to “Leprechaun: Origins”

  1. This is completely inexplicable. Do they even refer to the monster as a leprechaun at any point, like maybe the leprechaun myths were based on this beast or something? Or did they literally slap the Leprechaun name on an unrelated movie?

  2. Would it make you feel better to watch this video from last night’s WWE Raw show where Hornswoggle dressed as an alligator as part of a feud with another little person dressed as a lucahdor bull, as part of a storyline involving a wrestling bunny, with a cameo from Jesse Jackson as a bonus?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKsifyzebbY

  3. Dan – It’s supposed to be that this is what a leprechaun actually is, a little monster. The old guys have to give him the kids because he’s mad that they stole his gold. But it doesn’t have any of the traditional leprechaun qualities that made it funny to do a series of horror movies about a leprechaun.

  4. Wow. What a terrible premise.

  5. I’ve spent the past decade hoping that after going to Las Vegas, outer space, and the hood, the Leprechaun series would take the next logical step: Hollywood meta sequel.

    Warwick Davis plays himself. He’s an actor, but also a wizard. The Leprechaun is real and Warwick’s participation in the Leprechaun movies somehow keeps the Leprechaun in check – kind of a reverse Freddy/Candyman where our derisive laughter saps his power because no one takes him seriously. The producer’s approach him to do yet another sequel, but Back 2 the Hood seemed to permanently shut the little fucker down so Warwick declines. They go ahead without him, recasting the role with Verne Troyer. The Leprechaun (still played Warwick Davis) comes out and kills some people on the set, as you do. There’s a final showdown where Warwick sacrifices himself to defeat the Leprechaun, but the twist is that the Leprechaun has possessed Verne Troyer, whose eyes now glow green. The torch passed, Verne plays the Leprechaun in subsequent sequels.

    I always thought that it was a dumb, fan-fiction level idea – just a mash-up of Leprechaun and the later Chucky sequels, with a little New Nightmare thrown in. But now it doesn’t seem so stupid.

  6. They introduced one new concept, it has infra-green leprechaun-vision!…

    There was a hint of American Werewolf in London vibe early on…

    I kinda liked how the leprechaun was autistically territorial and all they had to do was move. Normally that goes without saying in this kinda movie, but I liked that they actually discussed it, and stupid as it was to do so, were firm about their position – except the son who was highly conflicted which also worked.

    I figured it’s a prequel in terms of they have the gold within it’s territory, so as the gold is spent it will have to go out. Maybe it learns English and stuff when it begins that journey, and picks up an outfit at that time. And a sense of humour.

    It wasn’t particularly dangerous for the most part actually. It took a while to kill someone, even when they were all tied up to trees it still didn’t manage to get a kill, though the shredding of the guys calf muscle was pretty nasty in terms of graphic wounds.

    Yeah… definitely enjoyed See No Evil a lot more as far as WWE films go.

  7. Ancient Romans — I love that treatment of a possible Leprechaun sequel. If that’s dumb, then it’s my kind of dumb.

  8. After seeing it, I thought they should have renamed the film Leprecabra.

    It’s disappointing that they had to make just a bad movie, and not a fun bad movie like the series was known for.

  9. When I saw Hornswoggle for the first time, it was when I randomly started to watch wrestling again, after a long absence from it. I didn’t know who he was, so for me it was just hilarious that a fight was won because one wrestler distracted the referee, while suddenly that little person climbed up from underneath the ring and beat up the other wrestler with a chair.

    BTW, does anybody know what the rules are for how wrestlers are credited in their acting jobs? I recently watched an episode of PSYCH, that had The Miz as guest star and he was actually credited as “WWE Superstar The Miz”, which is a credit, that they usually only use for posters and DVD covers.

    In more WWE related acting randomness: A few weeks ago I watched THE CHAPERONE, which is a pretty lame WWE Studios family comedy, directed by Stephen Herek (man, what happened?), starring Triple H (I think he was credited as Paul Levesque), Ariel Winter from MODERN FAMILY, Kevin Corrigan, Yeardley Smith and Enrico Colantoni. And for any reason, after we were treated with 1 1/2 hours of supposedly heartwarming “I really try to be a better man, can you forgive me, daughter?” moments, with some sprinkles of family friendly action, the movie’s last line was a joke about prison rape.

    That’s all.

  10. wooooow that sounds terrible, what were they thinking?

  11. I can assure you, there are no warthogs in Ireland. But neither are there leprechauns, so I guess that’s okay.

  12. I wonder if Vince McMahon ever considered buying Marvel when they weren’t doing well? He could have put Charles Band in charge of Marvel Video to make his wrestlers into DTV superheroes.

  13. That reminds me that I really have to watch that Scooby Doo movie, that apparently takes place in a town, where all WWE wrestlers live.

  14. You know what, the movie probly said wild boars or something, not warthogs. They claimed it was some kind of pig, anyway. I apologize to LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS and WWE Studios if I have misrepresented the animal that a character pretended was in the grass.

  15. The Original Paul

    October 1st, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Wow. Just wow. I’ve said before that Vern’s reviews often provide more entertainment value than their subject matter. This has got to be one of those, right?

  16. This is simply unconscionable. I was really looking forward to this one, but no longer. A real heel turn on WWE’s part.

  17. The Original Paul

    October 1st, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I was trying to remember what else I’d heard the name “WWE Studios” attached to recently, and then I got it: “The Call”, starring Halle Berry. That was really good. If “Leprechaun Origins” is even half as bad as Vern’s review suggests, then it begs the question: how the heck did they go from “The Call” to this?

  18. I’m still cracking up at “WWE SUPERSTAR: HORNSWOGGLE”.

  19. Stu – Holy fuck! am I glad that I stopped watching that garbage altogether last May. Good grief. Thank God for NJPW, TNA and the American indie scene because otherwise it would’ve been very difficult for me to even remotely give a fuck about pro wrestling after getting back into it a couple of years ago.

  20. Every St. Patrick’s Day, I like to get shit faced on Guinness and watched the very first LEPRECHAUN movie with Jennifer Aniston.

  21. I personally thought the Scooby Doo movie was really funny.

    Its the kind of dumb stuff that i would love on a wrestling cartoon

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9duNUbbM0ow

  22. http://uproxx.com/prowrestling/2014/10/watchamania-scooby-doo-wrestlemania-mystery-2014/

    Broddie- I recommend watching NXT from the WWE if you have access to it. It’s the most consistently good thing they put out, having the younger talent honing their skills and characters in a much more simple wrestling environment with most of the garbage they attach to the main product (annoying announcers, social media obsession, desperate attempts to gain mainstream acceptance), just an hour of their future stars getting to do their thing.
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13hjyl_sami-zayn-vs-antonio-cesaro-nxt-2-out-of-3-falls_sport

    It’s getting really good now as they’ve just debuted KENTA (under the name Hideo Itami) and are soon to bring in Prince Devitt too.

  23. Stu I’ve watched NXT for the past 2 years and tbh I’m not very impressed by it at all.

    Sure I appreciate that unlike RAW it’s booked more like a conventional wrestling show. With more showcases of the character personalities, psychology and athletic performance more in line with a sports show. Then an emphasis on the soap opera crap that ruined wrestling for me during the attitude era.

    But they are still crippled by the WWE philosophy of the same match structure and limited movements that completely turn me off. Especially when I’m exposed to the horrible WWE homegrown talent let alone guys who I followed for years like Kenta, Steen and PAC since they have been so watered down from what made them great since they have to adapt to the WWE style.

    So yeah I’ll pass on more NXT. There are better alternatives out there that suit my liking. TBH I’m just done with WWE in general at this point. Its so far removed from what I enjoyed with WWF that you couldn’t pay me to give a fuck anymore. Sorry but I guess I’ve just outgrown the McMahon circus.

  24. Just watched it. I really wonder if “let’s do what they did for King Arthur and Robin Hood, strip a mythical character of anything that makes it unique/interesting and tell a still made up but more serious/grounded version of its story” was their idea from the beginning, or if they thought “Hornswoggle as the Leprechaun” was such a can’t miss idea that they greenlit and started advertising for the movie without knowing whether the poor bastard actually had the acting chops to carry a movie, and then they realized he didn’t, and rather than cancelling the project they came up with a boring plan B. Anyway, I just watched (or in some cases, rewatched) all 7 episodes, it’s definitely the most bland.
    As a side note, SEE NO EVIL 2 is boring, too.

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