Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

When delving into horror movies, you find that there are what are known as icons among the genre. Many of these iconic monsters and killers are generally well known among not only fans but also among regular folks. Freddy Krueger is a household name, as are many of his contemporaries like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers or even Leatherface. We know them really well because their iconic status gives them a level of staying power. Other movies over the years tried to bring to life their own icons with some successes (Child's Play, Hatchet, Wishmaster, Behind the Mask) and some bitter failures (Laid to Rest, Smiley, Axe Giant, Jennifer's Body) but it's a practice that likely won't stop anytime soon. Then, we got 1993's Leprechaun, starring Warwick Davis as the titular character.

If only the Ewoks could see him now.

Yes, for better or for worse, this little menace went on to become an icon of horror, starring in six films before the character seemed to finally have worn out his welcome. Personally, I think taking a turn towards making the plots involve him rapping were likely a bad idea. Fans could probably overlook putting him in space, as that had its moments, but those last two films just felt like they were pandering to a demographic that honestly didn't care. But, lo and behold, Lionsgate decided to revive the franchise and even brought in a partner....WWE Studios. Wait, what? I mean, I remember when Chucky got involved with wrestling, but that was at WCW and was at a time when his movies were still in theaters. But, don't go into this expecting to see Vince McMahon getting murdered humourously by a green garbed ghoulie. No, this partnership means that rather than getting beloved character actor Warwick Davis, we're instead getting Dylan Postl. Oh, you don't know who that is? Weeeeell, here's a hint.

I can't decide if this is more offensive to Irish people, dwarfs, or leprechauns.
He's a dwarf wrestler named Hornswoggle who dresses like a leprechaun. Now, I know what you're thinking, that I am being too hard on this already. See No Evil wasn't so bad and it was made with WWE Studios right? But, the difference between See No Evil and this particular film is that it was new. It was a new antagonist, a new movie, and it starred a man who is honestly a bit frightening without any make-up being applied to him. Kane can carry a horror movie. Hornswoggle? Ehhhhhh. I'll be honest, I barely know who this guy even is. I stopped really watching wrestling when the Undertaker had a whole posse of creepy dudes running with him, which would honestly make for a better horror movie.

The Undertaker and His Pals 2: Viscera's Hungry
But, it is what it is, so here we go. Our story opens to two young people (a man and a woman) running for their lives through the woods in an unspecified part of Ireland. They make it to the tall grass outside of the woods, then stop (for some unknown reason) and both get killed by the mysterious creature we're yet to see. I'd say it's a decent start, but it feels a bit too much like it's ripping off The Lost World with the tall grass bit. After that we get to meet our actual main cast, four American friends (two couples) who are enjoying a holiday in Ireland and have decided to visit a small village out in the middle of nowhere. Their first clue as to why they shouldn't go there is the driver dropping them off quite a bit away from the village. The second probably has to be the large rock covered in runes and symbols. Look, I don't care what you believe, but I don't think seeing large mysterious rocks like that is going to lead anywhere good. The Runestone, Rawhead Rex, The Relic, these movies all tell me you leave that stuff alone...and they also tell me that movies like this typically start with an R. Weird.

Those movies also make me want to drink a lot less than this one does.
Our four idiots (of which two are actually supposed to be smart) get talked into going out into the woods to visit some stones that are supposed to be linked to the origin of the Celtic civilization itself, but at no point do these four stop to think that maybe the one they saw was actually one of these and that maybe going off with a drunk Irishman and his slightly creepy son might be a waste of time (and a terrible idea). But hey, who needs good sense when you can go have sex in a cabin that has a padlock on the outside? Of course, they even manage to fuck that up as one couple is clearly on the verge of breaking up and the other couple begins to make with the sex but the guy passes out from too many Irish beers. Good job enjoying your last chance to have an orgasm before something murders you, man. After they're all asleep, the unsatisfied girlfriend wakes up to a noise and checks it out only to see something run past the window causing her to scream and wake the others. They try to open the door to go check it out, but the door is locked. From the outside. What a surprise! The next thing you're going to tell me is that the old man did it.

Probably because the old bastard did, in fact, do it.
The creature gets into the house via a door in the fireplace and rips one girl's earring off (because it's gold, get it?) and they all run around the cabin like idiots until they decide to go outside through the fireplace door and the guy with whiskey-dick gets his leg tore up in the process. They all end up making it to another house down the road that turns out to be filled with things belonging to lots of dead people, because the people in the village sacrifice them to the...I hesitate to call it this...leprechaun, because they took its gold for themselves and it won't be satisfied until it feels it has gotten its fair trade in blood (or gold). They also learn that the stones are actually markers of the boundary to the creature's territory that it won't cross out of because...magic, I guess. Our young idiots finally smarten up and grab weapons as the old man, his son, and another beardy sort of guy have learned they're not dead and have come looking for them. The son seems very conflicted about letting all these innocent people die because of his town's greed, but that doesn't stop him from pointing his gun threateningly at them. Beardy guy gets attacked outside, which attracts the old man and the four teens escape from the son by...him just letting them go.

That's right, kids, you can always count on strangers feeling sorry for you in times of need.
They escape and run until they come across the kindly old barmaid from earlier who gives them a ride...right back to the crazy old man. Shit. The sad thing is I saw this coming and these kids are supposed to be reasonably intelligent. I don't even have a college degree and I can tell you that if an old man from this creepy old village is going to sacrifice you to a creature, odds are the other villagers are in on it. I would've punched out the old lady and took the car. Roll credits. But no, they get knocked out and tied to tree with gold strewn about them and the creature shows and attacks them, first ripping out one girl's tongue piercing (who has a gold barbell through their tongue?) and then it claws her boyfriend's stomach before going for the others again. But apparently clawing open his stomach somehow loosens ropes, he gets loose and frees the others who pick up their weapons and....run away as he is eaten alive. Hey, uh...I'm not an expert on tactics or anything but I'm pretty sure that you could've all killed it while it was occupied. They have an axe and a machete, for fuck's sake. Danny Trejo can take an entire army down with just one of those.

Oh, and here's creature, by the way. It looks like a horse-faced zombie with broken legs.
They decide to go back to the house as the lead girl has decided they should kill it...even though they completely wasted their chance to do that just a minute ago. She wants to lure it into the house through the fireplace door and then chop it as it comes through while the girl who now has two bleeding wounds where some piercings used to be waits under the porch area for it go through so she can trap it inside. But, because the thing seems to not be stupid, it tricks her and pushes her through the door letting her friend kill her with an axe to the head. Lead girl then proceeds to have a nuclear meltdown, even though she seemed completely fine after seeing her last friend die in the woods, and her boyfriend gets her to run to the other house again where they can get the door closed in time and the creature grabs him, ripping his spine out in what is the best looking effect in the movie.

I hope this doesn't mean this ugly thing might pop up in the next Mortal Kombat game.

She hides in the attic until the son shows up to save her, then he turns on his dad, his dad ends up falling down the basement stairs where the creature eats him, we don't know what happen to the son, and the girl takes off in the truck outside while the creature latches on. She buckles up and hits the brakes, causing the creature to go flying off, but because this is a movie the truck suddenly can't run now (even though it has absolutely no reason to not work) so she takes off on foot, ending up in a cemetery the couple at the beginning ran through where she finds some gold coins in their abandoned bag and uses them to distract the creature while she lops its head off as she spouts off what I can only assume is her big line for the trailer. She then runs for the stone, makes it there, hears a noise, and keeps running because clearly there's meant to be a sequel to this.

Run! Don't let the sequel catch you!
Final judgement? This was awful. I can be forgiving of certain things in horror movies, such as characters making bad decisions or venturing out into places that are clearly bad news, but the thing is that that many of the times I forgive those things the reason is that the rest of the movie overshadows those bits. There's usually some humourous dialogue, good effects work, a creative killer who is menacing or charming, and the total package then becomes entertaining. This movie just has all the bad bits with none of the good. The creature is boring looking and lacks any personality, the characters are generic and often annoying, the effects look worse than some SyFy channel originals, and in the end I just sort of found myself not caring.

"Don't be shy, lad! Tell us how ye really feel!"
This movie doesn't stand up to the original Leprechaun film or any of its sequels, including the terrible rap centered ones. It doesn't even improve on the concept. It seems to try a little by having it actually take place in Ireland and feature some folklore, but ultimately it feels like a forgettable creature feature that Elvira or Svengoolie would openly mock late at night on their shows. If I were Dylan Postl, I would avoid making a sequel to this piece of dreck and possibly look into getting those memories of making this movie removed via hypnosis or something. Hell, I might want to try that myself after sitting through it. If you want to see a killer leprechaun, watch the original film starring Warwick Davis and stay far away from this reboot. So, until I get invited by Mr. Davis to star in Willow II alongside him and Val Kilmer, I'll be here searching for a pot of gold in the cesspool of remakes. Later days, bleeders.

Honestly, I don't even see the appeal of gold. Let him have it.

No comments:

Post a Comment