A surprise independent hit, LEPRECHAUN owes its success to the gimmick of a horrific twist on its title character, because it has barely anything else to offer.
North Dakota farmer Dan O'Grady (Shay Duffin) returns from a trip to Ireland with a pot of gold he managed to steal from an ill-tempered leprechaun. But the wee fiend (Warwick Davis) has stowed away inside one of his suitcases, and in short order kills O'Grady's wife Leah (Pamela Mant) and gives
the old guy himself a stroke--though not before Dan manages to imprison the leprechaun inside a crate with a four-leaf clover. Ten years later, LA teen Tory (Jennifer Aniston) travels with her recently widowed father J.D. (John Sanderford) to the farmhouse, which he intends to fix up. He hires
young, handsome local handyman Nathan (Ken Olandt), who arrives with his assistants, preteen Alex (Robert Gorman) and retarded Ozzie (Mark Holton), who accidentally sets the leprechaun free in the basement. Nobody believes Ozzie's story of a malevolent little monster, though he and Alex do
discover the bag of gold coins in an old pickup truck.
The leprechaun wants his gold back, as well as revenge on the people who have stolen it. After killing a pawnshop owner (John Volstad) by jumping on him with a pogo stick, the evil elf returns to the farmhouse to terrorize the group. Nothing can stop him: after his eye is shot out, the
leprechaun kills the local sheriff and uses one of his victim's eyes to replace his own. The friends discover some leprechaun lore in the farmhouse, and Tory drives to the hospital where O'Grady lives to enlist his help, only to find that the leprechaun has already been there and killed the old
man. She returns as the creature is attempting to disembowel Ozzie, in hopes of retrieving the coin he's swallowed. Knowing that only a four-leaf clover can stop the creature, Alex affixes one to a wad of gum and launches it into the leprechaun's mouth with a slingshot. The stricken beast begins
to melt and falls down a well to what appears to be his death--though there's a suggestion that he may return.
Even if the idea of a leprechaun as a malevolent monster weren't so dubious, any horrific potential this film might have had is well and truly buried by the poor writing and direction of debuting filmmaker Mark Jones. The movie might have been saved by an overall humorous approach, but the only
leanings in that direction on view here are the villain's occasional one-liners, already become a horror cliche. Everything else is handled with a regrettably straight face, including such ludicrous scenes as the one in which the cast throw shoes at the leprechaun--who, legend has it, was once a
shoemaker--to distract him while one of them escapes. The action scenes are poorly staged, the frights predictable, and the generally competent cast appears at a loss to make anything of the substandard material. Gabe Bartalos' makeup for the leprechaun is actually quite good, but his efforts go
for naught. (Graphic violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: A surprise independent hit, LEPRECHAUN owes its success to the gimmick of a horrific twist on its title character, because it has barely anything else to offer. North Dakota farmer Dan O'Grady (Shay Duffin) returns from a trip to Ireland with a pot of g… (more)