Well, St. Paddy’s Day is almost upon us and to celebrate one of the dizziest and pukiest of all holidays, the SyFy channel has partnered up with After Dark Films to bring us the tale of a killer leprechaun, aptly titled, LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE. But this isn’t the same kind of killer leprechaun we all grew to love in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This is no wisecracking, Freddy Krueger-looking wee one running around retrieving his lost gold and killing anyone who gets in his way (in neither outer space nor “da hood”). No; this is a more monstrous looking mythical creature from Irish folklore. Gold still plays a role in the plot, but in a different way. And let’s not forget that not only is LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE a SyFy Original, it’s also co-produced by After Dark Films … and we all know their track record!!
This one has some recognizable faces in it. There’s Billy Zane, who plays the sheriff in the small town of Keening, Massachusetts (Sheriff Conor O’Hara), and William Devane (Pop O’Hara), Zane’s wacky old father who seems to have a lot of knowledge about leprechauns (of course). But caught in the middle of the s**t storm is Sheriff O’Hara’s daughter Karen (Courtney Halverson) who unknowingly and unwittingly releases the titular creature from it’s prison inside an oak tree (!!?!). Karen picked a red clover in a patch near the oak tree and invoked the “Curse of the Red Clover.” This curse has her pegged as the number one target of the killer leprechaun and she and her dad and grandpop have four days to figure out a way to kill the immortal creature before the curse gets her. And why is the leprechaun so pissed off anyway? Well it seems that before the people that founded Keening, Mass left Ireland they first captured a leprechaun and brought it with them to their new home. They “drained the leprechaun’s luck” until it turned mean and vicious and then turned on the people. They managed to imprison it inside an oak tree for centuries until Karen had to go and pick that damn red clover!! Got it? Phew.
Remember kids; leprechauns aren’t bad … it’s people who turn them bad!!
If you watch a lot of SyFy Originals, like I do, then the first thing you’ll immediately recognize is the lack of the typical “SyFy Original formula.” There’s no current or ex-special forces hunk, there’s no geeky yet extremely hot female scientist, and there’s no weird love triangle. In fact, there’s no relationship or love interest in the entire film. The closet we get is Karen, who’s a major cutie, innocently and awkwardly flirting with one of her high school classmates. But beyond flirting, there is no deeper relationship built up here. The central characters are all related (the O’Hara family) and we see how they deal with this killer leprechaun as a family (the same leprechaun apparently targeted their ancestors from Ireland). Writer Anthony C. Ferrante stayed surprisingly focused on this one and didn’t let the plot stray as it did in some of his past flicks (he also wrote the boring HOUSE OF BONES and the predictable SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE). And director Drew Daywalt keeps things running at a quick enough pace that the huge plot holes won’t bother you too much. But this is a creature flick, and this brings us to the main question: “How’s the freakin’ leprechaun look?” Well …
If you’re expecting the leprechaun-kinda look Warwick Davis made famous in the LEPRECHAUN franchise (as I was), you’re in for a big disappointment. The creature here looks nothing like the leprechaun pictures we’ve become accustomed too. Now normally I’d applaud the filmmakers here for thinking outside the box and giving us something new. Normally I would. But instead of looking like Warwick Davis, the leprechaun here (played by Kevin Mangold) looks more like the titular creature from Guillermo del Toro’s PAN’S LABYRINTH … albeit a cheaper, B-movie version of the creature. But Daywalt was obviously proud of its design because he shows it soon after the movie begins and they show it often!! Seriously, they show it a lot.
Besides the kinda disappointing creature, the plot does move along at a brisk pace, although you still won’t be able to overlook some of the plot holes. Example; if Karen was ‘marked’ by the leprechaun for picking the red clover, then why didn’t it just kill her immediately and get it over with. The leprechaun kills many people but apparently has to keep a schedule for the one that freed it? There’s also a few segments in the film where I thought there were two leprechauns. Why? Good question!! Mainly because the leprechaun kills someone in the woods and then seconds later we see old leppy killing someone in town, about 30 miles away. I know it’s an immortal creature, but does it have super speed too?
Overall LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE isn’t a terrible film. The most positive element After Dark Pictures brings with it to the table is that it gives this one better production values than most of the SyFy Originals we get. The acting is also well done by all the principle characters (I’m a huge Billy Zane fan and am surprised he never made it bigger in Hollywood). I watched this one with my 6 and 4 year olds and we all had a good time laughing and making fun of the film (I have my very own MST3K over here!!). There was better gore in LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE than in most SyFy Originals and they didn’t end it leaving it open for a sequel (thank you). There aren’t too many Irish-themed horror flicks for St. Paddy’s Day, and if you’re like me, you can’t watch 1993‘s LEPRECHAUN one more friggin’ time!! So sit back, crack open a few Guinness and have fun. There’s some fun to be had with this one.
LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE premiers this Saturday, March 17, 2012 on SyFy at 9pm (ET/PT).
Director: Drew Daywalt
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 4 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer