Ireland’s most prolific serial-quipper is back! Seemingly ignoring the ‘lep’s’ subsequent adventures (I mean he went to space in one of them – where do you go from there? ‘back to da hood’ again?!), it presents as a direct sequel to the 90s movie, bringing back one original cast member and returning to the site of his original spree.
Whilst the original 1993 had its moments, most notably from Warwick Davis injecting some energy and quirky humour into the titular role, it was, overall, a fairly bland affair. How it spawned so many sequels god only knows, admittedly most being an almost annual affair in the 90s, no doubt riding on the back of Aniston’s involvement in the original and her rise to fame with the sitcom ‘Friends’ the last movie ‘Leprechaun Origins’ was in 2014, and that in itself was the first after an eleven year break.
So, it’s a bit surprising that ‘Leprechaun Returns’ was released at all, a little more surprising that it ignored the reboot ‘Origins’, and massively surprising that it is in fact quite good!
The plot synopsis is simple. 25 years after being trapped in a well, the Leprechaun is brought back by a group of environmentally minded students who are trying to renovate the house that he wreaked havoc in the last time his gold was pilfered. So that’s essentially it, he’s back, and wants his gold – again.
There are some efforts to add in a few different stories, but none that matter, and then there are the links to the original film with Mark Holton reprising his role as the witless ‘Ozzie’ and a new female lead Taylor Spreitler who plays ‘Lila Redding’, the daughter of Aniston’s character in the original film; but again, they are ‘nods to’ that film, and if you’ve not seen the original, I’m sure you would still be able to keep up!
The plot is really, really standard, and to be honest, I was grateful for it. The Leprechaun himself isn’t really that deep of an antagonist, its what he can do that provides the charm. The acting by the cast is ok, but what I liked about the feel of the film in general, and the cast pull it off well, is that the movie is funny, without it being silly. So, the writing sees the characters having witty moments, lines and circumstances, without it being goofy. This allows the film to retain a somewhat dark and cruel tone, whilst still being self-aware and humorous. This is true of the Leprechaun also. He still has his amusing one liners, but he’s also really nasty in the way he plays cats and mouse with his victims, dispatching the hapless coeds with a twisted degree of ingenuity.
Here is the films strength, its creativity in the gore department.
Whilst it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of some of the big gore/splatter films (nor even some of directors Steven Kostanski’s ‘Astron-6’ ventures), it is still deliciously gory. There’s plenty of slicing, impaling’s and a decapitation; with standout scenes involving a human severed completely in two – vertically and a birthing scene reminiscent of Alien. In fact, the nods to classic films don’t stop there, with one specific scene being very (very) close to one of the more memorable sequences from Raimi’s ‘Army of Darkness’.
Its all good fun though, and the variance and leniency with the concept of what the Leprechaun can and cannot do with his powers sees him have an essentially free reign over his MOs. What the film lacks in substance, it makes up for with horror style.
Overall, there’s not a lot more to say. The film isn’t absolutely amazing, but its most definitely worth a watch, and should the inevitable next film procure the same director and writer then I would be well up for seeing that too.