Main cast: Taylor Spreitler (Lila), Pepi Sonuga (Katie), Sai Bennett (Rose), Oliver Llewellyn Jenkins (Matt), Emily Reid (Meredith), Ben McGregor (Andy), Mark Holton (Ozzy), and Linden Porco (The Leprechaun)
Director: Steven Kostanski
I have mixed feelings about the The Leprechaun franchise. They are all pure camp, and as much as I cringed while watching especially the later sequels, I’m ashamed to admit that I… uh, kind of enjoyed especially the worst ones such as that thing where they were all in space. Please don’t judge me. At any rate, Warwick Davis was the perfect stumpy villain, so I initially had my reservations when I realize that Linden Porco is taking up the role of the titular monster this time around.
To give Mr Porco credit, while the new voice takes some getting used to, this particular Leprechaun sounds genuinely menacing – when that thing bellows in fury, the anger seems real and hence frightening. However, this also creates a sense of dissonance while I am watching Leprechaun Returns, because everything else is comedy with a smidgen of mild CGI-ed gore.
Like most reboots, this one is set right after the first film, so yes, we can ignore all the sequels that came after that one. Taking place decades later, we meet Lila, the now teenage daughter of the heroine of the first movie. Her mother passed away finally, and even before the cancer took her life, she struggled with paranoia – Lila grew up hearing stories about how a monster will eventually come and kill them all. She doesn’t believe the stories, of course.
Therefore, she has no issues meeting up with a new sorority in her new school, AU. Get it? Au is short for aurum, the name given to gold by people who want to sound profound and well-educated. Actually, it’s the only sorority, heh, and it was formed only a week ago by Rose. Rose, a neurotic type, has successfully crowdfunded a project in which she and the other ladies will start a green farmstead thing in a property that belongs to the school. Incidentally, that property is the same house that was featured in the first movie, and sure enough, the Leprechaun is soon back, determined to get back the gold taken from him in the first movie.
As I’ve mentioned, this one is a comedy. Lila, Katie, and the rest are prone to making sarcastic quips when they should be scared out of their wits, and nobody here displays any genuine fear despite having seen the Leprechaun kill their buddies. There is always time for one-liners, even when you’ve barely escaped with your life just a few seconds ago! Some of the one-liners are genuinely funny – such as Lila calling the Leprechaun a pervert for claiming to have spied on her while she was bathing, and he asks her whether she means that he’s a sexy kind of pervert – but on the whole, the whole shtick feels like it had been recycled one time too many from Syfy’s huge repository of formulaic B-grade film scripts.
Aside from the Leprechaun and Ozzy (yes, he’s back here… for a while), everyone else is on the bland and forgettable side. The younger kids all fill up a stereotype quota each – the final girl, the sassy black chick, the cynical boozer, the asshole jock, the brainy dude, the assertive bossy chick – and the kills aren’t imaginative or memorable.
Still, nothing is really awful here; everything just feels… well, unnecessary because nobody asks for this and it doesn’t give me any reason to believe otherwise. Thus, Leprechaun Returns is a very average kind of Syfy fare. It’s alright as a time-waster, but unlike the original movies in this franchise, it’s neither good nor terrible enough to leave much of an impact on my mind.