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  • Rev Horror

Leprechaun Returns

Dir. Steven Kostanski (2018)

A group of college girls looking to transform the house from the original film into a sorority house run afoul of a Leprechaun out for revenge.

One of the smartest things that the Leprechaun series did was eliminate a lot of the ties between its different films. Each new film felt like it could go in any direction, with very few characters returning and very little reference to any plot point that has come before. Hell, even the methods used to defeat the Leprechaun have been wildly different: in the first film, it was a four leaf clover, followed by wrought iron, and then an amulet, and so on and so forth throughout. In a followup to the critically-panned Leprechaun: Origins, however, the series decided to return to its (decidedly lackluster) roots. Serving as a direct sequel to the Jennifer Aniston-led original, Leprechaun Returns subsequently loses almost everything that makes the series worth watching.

Lila (Taylor Spreitler), the daughter of Tory Redding from Leprechaun, has joined a brand new sorority on her college campus. In an effort to make their own sorority house, the girls (and two guys) return to the house where the Leprechaun was originally defeated. Unfortunately for them, the creature wasn't completely defeated the first time, and he comes back with a vengeance to finally get ahold of his missing gold. The Leprechaun (Linden Porco) has much more of a mean streak this time around, and it's up to the sorority gals to stop him once and for all.

Returns is by far the worst film of the entire series. Some of the worst writing and acting, in a series that already wasn't known to stand out in either area, completely kills this attempted reboot. The absence of franchise standout Warwick Davis, who swore off making horror movies after having children, is not only noticeable but deadly. Origins deftly handled losing Davis by altering the creature completely changing the fast-talking Leprechaun into a monster, upping the brutality along with its change in performer. This time around, however, writer Suzanne Keilly and director Steven Kostanski attempt to get the best of both worlds, returning the Leprechaun to his wisecracking roots while trying to up the violence to Origins level.

The gore in the film is actually quite good, and the initial kill that features the Leprechaun ripping his way out of the returning Ozzie (Mark Holton) is bloody and fun, as is the transection-via-falling-solar-panel that befalls one of the characters later on. Kills are not the issue with this one, as even the ones that I haven't mentioned are quite good. Unfortunately, this is a film that really requires its main villain to really charm the audience's pants off, and newcomer Porco just doesn't have it. When the rest of the actors deliver such stilted and seemingly bored performances as well, almost no amount of blood and gore will be able to overcome their shortcomings.

It's a shame, really: with today's ability to deliver blood and guts on a budget, the combination between a clever script and a dedicated gorehound crew could very easily breathe new life into this franchise. This time around, however, the reboot/direct sequel flounders almost from the opening scene, failing to maintain the audience's attention and flailing wildly from there on. The gore is surprisingly adept, however, and almost makes the whole thing worthwhile. If you can look past the areas where the film fails, and aren't particularly attached to the pre-existing franchise, there may just be enough carnage to make it worth a look.

Who this movie is for: Leprechaun completionists, Slasher devotees, Green energy fanatics

Bottom line: Leprechaun Returns is a lackluster effort at rebooting a franchise that really didn't need any changes. The acting is poor, the script is even worse, and while the gore is almost enough to save it, there's just not enough here to be worthwhile save for the most ardent slasher/gore fans who want to see everything. This series is, perhaps, best left dead, unless the aging Warwick Davis decides to return and resurrect the franchise. It's also not currently streaming unless you want to pay to rent it, which might be worth doing if you wanna see a couple of facial impalements.

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