I have a feeling most fans of the early movies are going to be surprised when they delve into “Leprechaun: Origins.” Much like the “Evil Dead” reboot from a few years back, there’s nothing to laugh about here. Gone is the dark humor and puns Warwick Davis rained on his victims starting with a young Jennifer Aniston in 1993.
The comparisons to “Evil Dead” don’t stop there. It’s evident that writer Harris Wilkinson used the remake of Sam Raimi’s classic as an example to pattern “Leprechaun: Origins” after. Much of the movie takes place in a cabin in the woods. Even the camera shots from the Leprechaun’s perspective mimic that of the demon in the aforementioned movie.
Just to ease everyone’s fears, this isn’t a straight remake of the original “Leprechaun.” Although it does have certain elements from the first movie like the setting of a secluded cabin or house and a basement where much of the action takes place, it’s really a completely different animal altogether. Filmmakers did a great job establishing the right mood for the film locations and set designs.
Two young couples backpacking through the Irish countryside make a stop at a secluded pub. While the townsfolk seem warm and welcoming, their politeness has an underlying sinister motive. They owe a Leprechaun sacrificial lambs for stealing his gold. The group of young hikers has unwittingly become his victims.
I was impressed by the direction the script takes for “Leprechaun: Origins.” Producers and writers easily could’ve dumped another entry in the franchise full of comical killings in absurd locations like space or the hood. However, they actually took the time to come up with something sensible and “believable,” if that’s even possible when we’re talking about little magical imps searching for their stolen gold.
The mythical creature found in “Leprechaun: Origins” couldn’t be more different than the one we’ve become accustomed to. Gone is the quick-witted and strangely “cute” little man dressed in a green hat and overalls. We’re given a growling Gollum-like beast that resembles a reptile more so than a chubby little dwarf.
Although WWE Superstar Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl portrays the title character in “Leprechaun: Origins,” not much should be made of the casting. It’s not like he has any actual speaking parts that would make him recognizable. He’s buried underneath layers of prosthetic makeup. Unlike Warwick Davis’s character, he doesn’t get a chance to inject any personality into the character. He comes across as a smaller version of the monster in “Pumpkinhead.”
My only real complaint about “Leprechaun: Origins” is its cinematography. While I can respect the cameraman’s attempts at concealing the actual appearance of the creature, there has to be other ways to do so besides shaking the camera and making abrupt cuts from one short scene to the next. It makes you feel like you’re having an epileptic seizure. Many of the shooting techniques used in the movie are annoying and come across as juvenile. Some viewers might find it unwatchable at times.
“Leprechaun: Origins” is rated R for horror violence and language. The gore doesn’t quite reach the level of what we see in “Evil Dead,” but still surpasses that of a PG-13 genre film. There are no scenes of nudity or sex. The extent of adult content are kept to a few scenes of two girls in their underwear and bras while making out with their boyfriends. They all take place at the same time.
The DVD version of “Leprechaun: Origins” contains some interesting bonus material for fans of the franchise. Two featurettes are included entitled “’Leprechaun:’ An Icon Reborn” and “’Leprechaun:’ Behind the Blood.” They delve into the making of the movie and bringing it back to life after 11 years.
Those who have been interested in a serious take on the subject will enjoy “Leprechaun: Origins.” If you’re one of those who adored the humor and slapstick killings of the previous entries in the franchise, this isn’t going to fulfill your cravings. There are virtually no comparisons to be made between the original cult classic and this version. If you’re a well-rounded horror and gore enthusiast you’ll find something to enjoy here.
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