Monday, March 19, 2012

Leprechaun (1993) - 3/5

Some films deserved to be franchised. Some films baffle when they are franchised. For the latter, simply look into 1993's "Leprechaun". The film is awkward most of the time with little in the way of relatable characters or plot and often enough confuses with lacking cohesiveness and the gimmicky title villain. To break it down, this film is bad. Oh so very bad...but there is an ace in it's sleeve. Writer/director Mark Jones takes a Sam Raimi inspired approach to its silly script and goofy characters. He runs with it at full speed, embraces its awkwardness, and bats one out of the ballpark with its blend of hilarious cliches and gimmicks. Somehow, against all logic, it works just like leprechaun magic.

Tory (Aniston) and her father have bought the perfect rustic house in North Dakota. It's cheap, run down, and isolated. With a group of painters/fix it guys in tow at the house, their plan is to clean it up and live in peace and quiet. The leprechaun trapped in the crate in the basement has different plans however. He has to find his pot of gold that was stolen and hidden in the house. If he has to kill a few people to do so, he will. So much for peace and quiet.

I fully admit it. Despite being unexplainably bad at times, "Leprechaun" is damn enjoyable. It's silly, tongue-in-cheek, and completely charming with its oddities and dumb ass plot. It plays up its cliches to perfection (which includes our characters like the silly side kick painters, the tough young heart throb, and the ditzy leading lady) and it's plot is fairly by the numbers in how it goes about its slasher ways. In these aspects, it's a by-the-numbers slasher mixed with a bit of creature features elements.

Then of course, Jones throws in completely random and often hilarious moments. Our leprechaun has a penchant for silly mobile transport in the film and takes to roller skates, skateboards (welcome to the early 90s folks!), wheelchairs, and the king of all kick ass go-carts to get around before he finds his teleporting ability that randomly seems to come and go in the third act. It's almost cartoon-like for the villain as he does some really strange things including going through a fence and leaving a hole that's the outline of his body. He gets pulled over by a cop in his go-cart where the cop asks how old this "kid" is to which our villain responds with 'over 600 years' or something to that effect. The charm and silliness of our villain easily makes this film a riot to watch and is the sole reason it does get a franchise. How could you not want to see more of him by the end of this movie?

At the end of the day, "Leprechaun" isn't all that original nor does it push itself to any new boundaries of horror. What it does do is take what it has, a gimmicky concept, and run with it until it charms you into laughing at it. To which it gladly laughs right along with you.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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