Sigh. A high standard of elevated film criticism has been the aim of this writer, but it has come to my attention that there is a small number of readers and commenters who are intent on derailing my lofty ideals with incessant comments about leprechauns, and specifically the franchise of movies that began with Mark Jones’ 1993 film. Nobody enjoys a good joke more than myself, so rather than attempt to censor these outbursts, I’m leaning into the storm by reviewing the original Lep flick, which Amazon Prime thoughtfully made available as part of their ongoing attempt to make lock-down couch potatoes rather less comfortable than they could be.
What is a Leprechaun? The blurb for Leprechaun 2 makes clear that he’s an ‘Irishman’, although he seems less like a man that a troll or imp. He wears a green suit, an outsized hat, shiny black shoes with buckles on them. The leprechaun seems to exist in a permanent state of self-amusement, often laughing with delight at unseen or un-guessed at events, and has a number of bespoke vehicles which he uses to cause physical damage to his victims, namely a go-kart and a pogo-stick. These scenes are presumably intended to be humorous; Jones seems to be aiming for the sweet spot that mixes cartoonish horror with comedy a la Gremlins, even if the burst of gore are more Freddy Kruger.
In a story with logic that gives the impression that it’s been created by a small, warped child, Leprechaun is the story of how this tiny Irishman, played by Warwick Davis, terrorises a young girl Tory (Jennifer Aniston, yes, that Jennifer Aniston) whose family have rented a house belonging to a man who crossed the Lep. And that’s your lot in terms of the story; the conflict is set between youth and Leprechauns, and it is against this sobering background that the idiotic narrative of Leprechaun is played out.
After reading a number of recent, scholarly assessments of the Leprechaun phenomena, and stared deep into the eyes of the creature itself, I have found the Leprechaun to be a meritless film without standing, and will consider no more films in this franchise, not In Space, or Back in Da Hood, no Origins, or any of it. A form of straight-to-VHS rubbish that somehow found an audience in the 90’s, these films are utterly dismal in their attempts to wring either scares or laughs from the ridiculous protagonist and his search for precious gold or lucky charms. With the entire world of cinema becoming us, there is simply no reason at all for us to tarry with the Lep; let us unite and pledge to have the little fellow depart us forever, and say goodbye forever to our friend and enemy, the Leprechaun.