Sunday, June 21, 2015

Film Review: Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Leprechaun: Origins (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...you have to trudge through the bad to get to the decent."

Two young couples backpacking through Ireland find themselves hunted by a vicious leprechaun...

Leprechaun: Origins follows this group of generic characters on their trip through Ireland. This forgettable group includes Ben, Sophie, David (Brendan Fletcher), and Jeni. While at a folksy tavern, the group are joined by a town resident offering them a place to stay and an opportunity of a lifetime — which is visiting the town's oldest, secret relics. Of course, the group soon find they've been duped and are being offered as sacrifices to a leprechaun. The rest of the plot cycles over the same formula: run, hide, fight, run, hide, fight, and so on. The film leads to a very predictable ending — the same ending you've seen a million times in these sort of creature features.

 Leprechaun: Origins is a reboot of the Leprechaun series. Personally, I was never very fond of the series — you can read why in my review of the first film. Anyway, this film is completely different. Origins takes the film from cheesy b-movie riddled with puns and one-liners to cliché creature feature. Unfortunately, this reboot doesn't fare much better than the original. This film suffers from the same issues many horror films suffer from nowadays. Generic and hollow characters, plot contrivances, repetitive formula, predictable plot... The flaws pile on, but I think you get the gist — it's a modern horror film. Depending on your taste, it's also worth noting: the leprechaun does not speak. This removes all of the cheesy one-liners. As much as I'm was not a big fan of the original, this removes a differentiating factor for the series, making it more cliche than ever before.

The film becomes more tolerable during the latter half. I'm not going to lie, there were a few scenes that actually surprised me. Scenes which include a tongue ring, an axe, and a spine. It's some pretty gnarly stuff. There's some light suspense here and there, and there are some gory visuals. The film is also, at the very least, paced well, so it doesn't feel like you're being tortured by a bad and slow film. It's nothing special but it offers a little something for your trouble. But, remember, the saving grace really doesn't appear until the second half, which means you have to trudge through the bad to get to the decent.

The acting is serviceable. Although the character was generic, Brendan Fletcher, leading man in Uwe Boll's Rampage films, delivered a good performance. Dylan "Hornswoggle" Postl apparently plays the leprechaun, but there really isn't much acting on his part. In fact, you hardly ever see him. On that point, this film also suffers from some bad camerawork — the shaking is way over the top. The lighting is also hit-or-miss. I loved the vibrant lighting, but felt the dark was too dark. Director Zach Lipovsky crafts a very generic creature feature. Although it offers some gory surprises, it really feels like any other modern horror film. In fact, I'd say a film like this and Animal are practically interchangeable. Although I wasn't a big fan of the original, it is disappointing to see an uninspired reboot from a film with so much eccentric b-movie energy.

Overall, Leprechaun: Origins is a mediocre horror film. Its characters are one-dimensional and cliché, the story is generic, the formula is repetitive, and the ending could be seen from the beginning. The film is somewhat redeemed by its gory surprises, decent suspense, and forgiving pace. It's not a complete waste of time, it's something to watch when you have nothing else, but it feels like it misses its mark. If you're looking for a gory creature feature, you may enjoy the second half of this film. If you're a hardcore fan of the original series, this will feel like a slap in the face.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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