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  • Rev Horror

Leprechaun: Origins

Dir. Zach Lipovsky (2014)

Two couples backpacking through Ireland find themselves caught between old legends and new terror.

The Leprechaun series has had its ups and downs, covering a wide range of topics and never ceasing to be incredibly entertaining despite their uneven levels of quality. At its best, the series has been clever and hilarious, with quite a bit of bloodshed thrown in for good measure. At its worst, the series has still maintained a little of its charming sense of humor, even when the storylines have vacillated between thoroughly thought out and completely nonsensical. One of the things it has never been, however, was scary, as the franchise as a whole has tried desperately to harness the funny of Freddy Krueger without dipping its toes too deeply into the horrifying side of horror. That ends with the reboot Leprechaun: Origins, produced by WWE studios and taking an entirely new, gritty perspective on the leprechaun mythology.

Sophie (Stephanie Bennett), Ben (Andrew Dunbar), Jeni (Melissa Roxburgh), and David (Brendan Fletcher) are backpacking across Ireland when they are offered a cabin in the woods to stay in during their trip. The leprechaun myths are not as cute and cuddly as they appear, however, and they find themselves at the mercy of a terrifying and monstrous creature that is looking for its gold (and some human flesh). When their hosts are not quite as benevolent as they appear, the quartet must try to escape with their lives before they are torn limb from limb by the bloodthirsty Leprechaun (Dylan Postl).

Having seen six of these movies so far, this one came completely out of left field. The series has been fun and funny, focusing almost entirely on ludicrous plot points and tongue-in-cheek humor. Despite the movies not being particularly scary, the Leprechaun has been entertaining enough to carry the series, and the script found its stride after the first film to become truly entertaining and a great watch. This time, however, all of that is thrown out the window. The Leprechaun itself is terrifying, more closely resembling a larger version of the creatures from The Descent than it does the wisecracking gremlin who has tormented everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Ice-T. Surprisingly, the complete shift in tone really works.

This movie is rated incredibly poorly, and I can understand why to an extent. If you came into this movie expecting the tonality of the rest of the series, Origins is incredibly shocking. It's also an out-and-out monster movie, something that bodes poorly for any critical acclaim that may have otherwise come its way. Horror in general is poorly rated, and creature features often carry the lower end of the totem pole when it comes to critical value. This Leprechaun doesn't even speak, and he gets his jollies by decapitating his victims or ripping their spines out of their bodies. He's beastly, incredibly violent, and grotesque-looking, losing a lot of his humanly features to become a gruesome goblin that makes no effort to be playful. If you're looking for Warwick Davis, you're gonna be massively disappointed.

As a monster movie, though? It's fucking rad as hell. It moves a little slowly as it gets itself established, which is in my opinion perfectly understandable for a movie whose plot makes it establish itself all on its own metrics. It can't lean on what's come before, because it's unrelated entirely to anything else in the franchise. In fact, if you had just called this movie Goblin and taken it completely out of the Leprechaun world, the audience wouldn't have batted an eye. Despite all that, once it does get established, it moves quickly and violently, and you never quite know how far director Zach Lipovsky is going to push it with the blood his little dude gets to shed. Thankfully, that's pretty damn far, because while this movie fits not at all with the rest of the films in the franchise, it's a damn good creature feature in its own right.

Who this movie is for: Monster movie fans, Leprechaun non-purists, The Irish Republican Army

Bottom line: While having pretty much zero to do with the rest of the series, Leprechaun: Origins is a badass and mean-spirited little monster movie that is well worth a watch. For a series with as many ups and downs as this one, it's kinda nice to get something that differs pretty much completely in tone. If you're expecting Warwick Davis and his rhyming jokes, you probably won't enjoy this one, but if you're looking for a creature feature a la The Descent, this one could be right up your alley. It's streaming on Peacock right now, I would definitely recommend that you ignore the Metascore and give it a shot.

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