Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Synopsis
We meet up with four college kids, led by a history major, at the last stop of their backpacking trip through Ireland. They’re dropped off at the outskirts of a small, remote village by a local who ominously refuses to go any further. Our privileged white sightseers pay no mind, footing the rest of the way to a pub, where a man by the name of Hamish suggests, if it’s real Irish history they’re after, they check out the Clocha de na Deithe, or Stones of the Gods, the oldest existing artifacts in all of Ireland. Our heroes agree. The stones are a seven-hour hike away, but Hamish and his son are more than happy to drive them partway there and let them stay in their — get this — cabin in the woods.

Now, it’s clear from the fifteen-minute mark Hamish is luring these hapless lovers of history into a trap, or at least concealing one of those terrible small-town secrets you hear about, eerily noting his town likes to keep things “private”, wearing a Rolex, yet boo-hooing of money troubles, and, well, everything short of the ol’ shifty eyes.

It’s later revealed the people of Hamish’s town unwittingly mined all the gold from a leprechaun’s treasure cave many years back. And now, it’s pissed off. If they don’t make amends to the horrid little thing by leaving it periodic offerings, like wristwatches, and tourists, it ventures in from the woods — to kill! Will our heroes survive the set-up?

Review (SPOILERS)
One of the first things you’ll notice when popping this movie in is director Lipovsky has gone to great lengths to conceal his baddie. Almost every shot of the titular fairy-creature is somehow obstructed, whether cleverly composed, out of focus, or just too brief to get a look at. To the best of my recollection, the creature is never clearly shown head to toe for more than a second. In my opinion, this was the best way to go, because here, we can see that it looks like pure crap, most closely resembling a hairless chimpanzee with a melted face.

Lep Origins 1

Director Lipovsky explains in a ‘hind-the-scenes featurette you can find on the DVD that his subtitle, Origins, one I mistook as an indication of this being a prequel, refers to the origins of the leprechaun myth, err, folklore (where’s that scholar?). “This isn’t necessarily the leprechaun that you would see on the cereal box. It’s more… the ancient creature thousands of years ago that, in Ireland, they started telling this story about.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t leprechauns always been described as human-like in appearance, with beards, and hats, and such? Show me an Irish text that paints them as hairless, melty-faced apes. No, go ahead. Writer Harris Wilkinson should have consulted the Legends and Folklore CD-ROM from Leprechaun 3.

Leprechaun cdrommage

Whereas the leprechaun played by Warwick Davis not only spoke, but slung around all sorts of rhymage and witty repartee, this version’s vocalizations are limited to a primitive range of grunts, growls and snarls. When it walks, it knuckle-walks like a primate; the general impression we get from this beast is just how primal it is, that it mindlessly hunts and kills, like a big, feral cat would. It doesn’t talk. It has no personality. It’s been stripped of its magical powers. Frankly, I’m having a hard time believing it’s even cognizant enough to be holding onto this decades-old feud it supposedly has with the villagers. Its only agenda seems to be killing and eating whatever enters its neck of the woods, which it does rather brazenly, ambushing all four heroes at once, instead of going the typical slasher route and picking them off one by one as they stop to pee, tie their shoes, etc. Its only MO is straight-ahead brute force, and it’s so brutal, and so forceful, it’s almost laughable. With the way this thing rips its victims away feet-first through the weeds, you’d think it were something much larger, and scarier, than it actually is — like, say, a Velociraptor. When I hear the word “leprechaun”, I don’t picture an animalistic killing machine. Maybe that was my first mistake?

For a fleeting moment, the Leprechimp does exhibit what could be seen as higher thinking faculties, sliding a female character into the path of an axe swung by another character, but this is the only example of that, and afterwards, it’s back to the primitive snarling and knuckle-walking.

Lep Origins 3

So the question begs, without the familiar, wise-cracking Leprechaun we know and, maybe not love, but tolerate, why promote this flick as a reboot of the 1993 cult classic? Literally the only similarity I noticed between the two, besides their titles, of course, was the one-liner “Fuck you, Lucky Charms!” — used here as the sole survivor’s supposed-to-be-epic, pre-mortem zing. Take that, you melty-faced monkey fuck.

Announced early on as a darker, scarier take on the source material, Origins ain’t. True, its intent is such, much more creature feature, much less comedy slasher, but cor blimey, it’s so completely generic, and weak, and watered-down with clichés you might slip in it. If you feel like you’ve seen this before, you probably have. The action is ripped from a hundred other identical flicks — the Leprechimp even sees in a filtered, Predator-esque “gold vision”. Goddamnit.

The characters we follow are flat, boring, and sin of all sins, completely selfish, ditching each other at each and every opportunity; the group mentality seems to be I just have to run faster than my friends. Not only did I not connect with these characters, I actively hoped they would die. And that’s not to say that I liked the Leprechimp, either. The only character I felt for was Hamish’s son, who, in a Junior from The Last House on the Left sort of way, is torn between his allegiance to his father and crushing feelings of guilt.

This one’s examination of self-preservation over loyalty aside, it fails to break new ground or be interesting, if indeed, it even tried to. It’s clear the people who made this had no idea, nor cared, what horror fans, let alone Leprechaun fans, wanted to see. In a troubling scene from the DVD featurette mentioned above, the clueless director compares this to Psycho. Yes, Psycho. These are the people in charge of horror movies. A scary thought.

Back in 2008, Saw 2, 3 and 4 director Darren Lynn Bousman expressed interest in writing/directing a Leprechaun sequel to have taken place in the West during the Gold Rush. I can’t even begin to express how much I would have preferred that to this.

The biggest flub here may have been casting comedy wrestler Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, best known for playing a leprechaun on TV for chrissake, in a humorless role as a creature that’s, for all intents and purposes, the exact opposite of a leprechaun, then covering him in so many prosthetics you’d never even know it was him. What’s the point?

A Few Questions
•If the Leprechimp was confined by magic runes to a specific geographic location, why’d these residents never think to, you know, move away?
•If the Leprechimp could be killed as mundanely as it was, why weren’t these locals able to get the job done for what must have been decades?

The Verdict
Skip it. I’m not a huge fan of the original Leprechaun films (I admit to liking 3 and 6 quite a bit), but this was so bad it made me nostalgic for them.

Recommendations
Leprechaun’s Revenge (2012)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

EDIT
Links to my earlier Leprechaun reviews: Leprechaun, Leprechaun 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun in the Hood, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.

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7 Responses to “Leprechaun: Origins (2014)”

  1. “I am extreamely, most definatly pissed-off at whoever or whatever director or person made this stupid-ass, nonreboot, supposed-to-be-a-leprechaun, shity-faced-lep’monkey of a movie.” “This one of my most favorite all-time iconic scary/horror movie, right behind child’s play, nightmare on elm street, halloween, friday the 13th, and hellraiser, including sometimes the pumpkinhead franchises, and the completely obliterated the horror/comedy classic leprechaun movies. I mean this movie, for me, watching it made me feel like they told leprechaun franchise fans “F**K YOU”. It really defeated the purpose of even making a leprechaun “REBOOT”, by trying to, if they were, restart the franchise with this bullshit lep-monkey, monkey what the F**K it’s supposed to be, idea of a movie. How i’m feeling right now is very undescribable.”

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  2. como se identifica aun leprican o donde viven

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  3. dougdenslowe Says:

    Thanks for posting the picture of the “Leprechaun”.Im watching the movie now and wanted to know if there were photos of the leprechaun………without having to freeze the film myself.

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    • Thanks for commenting! I hope you enjoyed the film more than I did. The image is makeup test footage from a “making of” featurette you can find on the DVD.

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      • dougdenslowe Says:

        I’m not sure if I enjoyed it more than you;I can’t recall a thing about it.I think I made my above comment as I was watching it on Netflix.And as I sometimes do,if a flim is boring,I may have fallen asleep during the film.Its embarrassing finding my comments on films I no longer remember.I also have a habit of googling a film,as I watch it,if its bad and I think it’s me who’s “not getting it”.

        Liked by 1 person

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