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  • Rev Horror

Leprechaun 5: In the Hood

Dir. Rob Spera (2000)

Three aspiring rappers accidentally summon the Leprechaun into Compton.

I suppose it says something about horror as a whole that the Leprechaun went to space before he ever even met a Black person. Despite the genre's resistance to appealing to the "urban" demographic (which is a problematic-enough term on its own), the most uneven franchise in horror decided to dedicate its fifth film to the mean streets of Compton, sending the Leprechaun to Cali to face off against hood rats that are just about as stereotypical as they come. It's difficult to criticize horror too much, however: Hollywood as a whole never dealt much with Black stories outside of Blaxploitation (which would still be considered genre cinema) and the more social films like those made by Spike Lee. In fact, it was fairly rare to find a movie starring Black actors that didn't solely talk about inner city crime or racism until the late 90's, so perhaps we can forgive horror for taking so long to truly address other marginalized audiences. I supposed you could even call Leprechaun's turn towards the hood as progressive, if you really wanted to.

The Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) once again finds himself at odds with a group of people who have stolen his gold. This time, it's a trio of rappers: Postmaster P (Anthony Montgomery), known for the positivity in his lyrics, Stray Bullet (Rashaan Nall), and Butch (Red Grant). They were promised an opportunity to go for a record deal with local pimp/music producer Mack Daddy (Ice-T), but when he reneges on his promise, the aspiring lyricists show up after hours and rob his place. When they steal the golden amulet (last seen in Leprechaun 3) from around the neck of a leprechaun statue, the little man is revived and begins to wreak havoc all around the hood.

One of the most interesting things about the Leprechaun series is how inventive every successive film in the series becomes. Each movie focuses on a different aspect of horror filmmaking, from the first's attempts to be more of a straightforward slasher flick with a little bit of humor to the previous installment's over-the-top blend of science fiction tropes and "cutting edge" CGI. My favorite of the series thus far has been Leprechaun 2, which leaned much more heavily on the comedy aspect that should've been an obvious target for a franchise about a tiny green man who murders people while looking for his lucky charms (or his gold, whatever). Thankfully, Leprechaun 5: In the Hood heads back in that direction, distibuting hilarious one-liners, gratuitous prop gags (like Ice-T pulling a baseball bat out of his afro), and borderline-racist dialogue and characterizations.

And it is, in fact, a pretty hilarious film. The jokes largely land, and while the depiction of inner city Black folks could easily be viewed as insensitive at best, it's also really funny. Ice-T is a delight, having absolutely no fear in being as gangsta as possible while fighting with a fucking leprechaun. Davis is his normal gruesomely charming self, delivering timely pop culture references that won't mean nearly as much to someone who didn't live during the era in which the film was released. In the Hood is by far the best acted of the films so far, as there's not a single actor in the film that doesn't crush their role. It's actually pretty refreshing, to be honest. Despite some of the previous entries bringing nothing but Troll 2 level performances, this one goes above and beyond and almost feels... like a good movie? I don't know if I'd quite go that far, but for my money, In The Hood is the best of the series so far.

The end of the film drags a little, and it's a little bit of a letdown compared to the rest of the movie. Despite this, it's still the best movie in the series so far, and it's a delight to watch. I could see an argument that it's a little bit offensive, especially because it was made with the 90's Hollywood sensibilities when it comes to discussing Black America. It's worth it for the Leprechaun rap at the end, however, which would have drawn even more viewers than Jennifer Aniston had they included it in the first movie.

Who this movie is for: Slasher movie lovers, Leprechaun series fans, Death Row Records

Bottom line: Leprechaun 5: In the Hood is not only a decent movie, it's far better than it has any right to be. It's super entertaining, absolutely hilarious, and has some of the best kills of the series so far. It's still a ridiculous farce of a film, but it knows that and aims for it going in. This one is definitely worth checking out, even if you're not a fan of the series as a whole, and it's streaming right now on Peacock along with the rest of the films.


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