Director: Zach Lipovsky
Writer: Harris Wilkinson
Producer: Cami Winikoff, Mark Amin, Michael J. Luisi
Stars: Stephanie Bennett, Andrew Dunbar, Melissa Roxburgh, Brendan Fletcher, Garry Chalk, Teach Grant, Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl
Four college kids hiking through Ireland become trapped in a remote village plagued by a ferocious leprechaun.
A quartet of college kids on a hiking holiday in Ireland takes a detour to a remote village flanked by tall Celtic stones steeped in strange folklore. The stout-gulping townspeople at the local pub eye the outsiders curiously. One of the villagers then makes fast friends and convinces the foursome to stay the night in a rundown cabin to rest for a long day ahead. The four friends ultimately discover that they have been duped into becoming unwitting sacrifices for a vengeful leprechaun who has the terrified town gripped by a legacy of fear.
Two couples, one goody-goody and one slightly sex-charged, on a backpacking trip through a foreign country. Shifty-eyed locals hiding a centuries-old secret. Trapped in a woodland cabin while a shadowy shape pounds at the walls. A conveniently located book of legends filling in exposition. Repeated stumbling while being chased to drum up supposedly suspenseful moments. In partnership with WWE Studios, Lionsgate sets out to pump fresh juice into the veins of a franchise lying dormant for a decade, yet think to do so by employing the most lifelessly uninspired horror movie clichés imaginable.
Considering that the three immediately preceding “Leprechaun” films involved two trips to “tha hood” and one to outer space, neither the quality bar nor the expectation bar is set particularly high for this sixth film. And still, “Leprechaun: Origins” manages to trip on those bars with a lame plot that would be a Swiss cheese setup if it had any substance to outline the holes. Instead, it is merely a vapid void of empty story logic and recycled tropes.
The mythology motivating the premise is utterly nonsensical. A leprechaun terrorizes this village, but he is bound by the Celtic stones surrounding the landscape to stay inside this limited area. What is stopping these townspeople from up and leaving him there then? Are there no other remote countryside villages in Ireland where these people can relocate? And what sense does it make that the leprechaun requires human sacrifices of outsiders to satisfy the debt of townspeople stealing his gold? The screenplay is somewhat ambiguous about the details, but the audience can be forgiven for not caring since neither do the filmmakers.
WWE superstar Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl supposedly plays the titular terror, although aside from a screen credit purporting as much, there is no way to know for certain. Apparently, reinventing Warwick Davis’ wisecracking imp means stripping the character of all personality and reducing him to a feral blur of briefly-glimpsed claws and noisy snarls. Few shots of the leprechaun last longer than a single second. During infrequent instances when he actually appears in full view, it is rarely with another actor in frame. There is no sense of scope regarding how small or how large this thing even is. He could be pint-sized. He could be giant-sized. He could be a puppet. It doesn’t seem to make a difference who or what is working underneath the makeup.
For that matter, there isn’t a point to him being a leprechaun or setting the story in Ireland, either. Much of the movie takes place inside a rundown cabin or in dark fields and trees at night. “Origins” could be set in Idaho with a potato-stealing pixie, troll, sentient tumbleweed, whatever, and the rest of the film would play exactly the same way.
“Leprechaun: Origins” is so lousy that even its end credits are unbearable. Realizing that the actual movie runs just 78 minutes long, the bright idea to beef it up to an even 90 involves tacking on 12 minutes of crewmembers’ names. This unreasonably stretched out procession of text is interspersed with shots of pages from a folklore book and miscellaneous trinkets from the leprechaun’s loot.
It initially looks like the sequence might have some purpose in mind to padding things out with so many random sepia-smeared close-ups. Unless one more unintelligible growl from the leprechaun after the copyright counts as a payoff, then alas, the overlong mashup of credits and B-roll does in fact turn out to be just as pointless as everything else about the movie.
Equally unclear is exactly what this is supposed to be an origin of. Other than recycling a groan-worthy line of dialogue from the 1993 original, “Origins” bears no recognizable relation whatsoever to the “Leprechaun” films, whether as a prequel or as a sequel. What it does resemble is a meaningless movie that makes for a terrible entry in the “Leprechaun” series, and an even worse one in the horror genre as a whole.
Review Score: 25