Thoughts on “The Leprechaun’s Curse”

When I came across this, I actually thought that it was an attempt to revive the “Leprechaun” series of horror movies giving the titular leprechaun a changed appearance.  Since I had watched and talked about that series, and since it was cheap, I decided that it would definitely be worth picking it up and watching it.  The reasons I thought it was part of the series were that the title font looked similar to what the original series had used and the main plot about someone inheriting an estate from a gold dealer who seemed to be using the leprechaun’s gold for things was one that would fit the original series and would be an interesting way to revive it.  However, it turns out that this isn’t an attempt to continue that series, but is instead a low-budget British production that plays off of a similar theme.

The first thing to note about this movie is that the leprechaun looks really, really bad.  Leprechauns are generally depicted as being small, and this leprechaun is taller than pretty much anyone else in the movie, so it gets off to a bad start right away.  Second, the make-up is more a cheap version of what you’d see for monsters like Freddy from “Nightmare on Elm Street” instead of something you’d expect to see in a leprechaun.  And finally, the leprechaun pretty much minces around the screen in a way that looks incredibly stupid and makes no sense.  Add in that the voice is heavily distorted and we have a main villain that’s more unintentionally laughable than really scary.

Now, in the other leprechaun movies having a smaller villain meant that the deaths had to be more creative and even playful, which would allow them to stand out from more standard horror movies.  Here with a leprechaun that’s more normal physically they could actually go back to having more physical deaths.  However, they ended up giving him magic and using that to kill people, which works for a leprechaun but then makes the leprechaun being more normal physically seem even more out of place.  And then they do try for more physical kills, such as the leprechaun carrying a knife and stabbing someone through the eye with a high heel shoe.  The magical deaths aren’t that interesting — it’s basically drowning and suffocating — and the physical deaths aren’t all that creative.  There are some small pranks that happen early on but the movie and the leprechaun aren’t all that playful.

It’s also unclear what the leprechaun’s deal and motives are.  The main plot is that it wants its gold back, which is the standard plot for these things.  And yet even when people offer or even do give it its gold back or promise to do that, the leprechaun still wants to kill them anyway, because it seems to take souls for … some reason.  This aspect only clutters up the work and fits badly with what happens because it makes the leprechaun way too much of a villain for having a backstory of trying to get revenge on thieves.  It actually works really poorly here because the woman who inherited the estate didn’t know anything about the leprechaun or the gold, and her friends don’t either, so it demanding that they give back its gold or it will kill them is ridiculous since they, well, don’t know what happened to it.  This makes the leprechaun seem like a bit of a doofus who has no idea what’s going on despite seemingly claiming that it does (and having the ability to observe what people were doing and so know that they weren’t involved).  Given the personalities involved, a threat to kill people unless they find its gold and offing people every so often to punctuate the point would have worked a lot better, as some of the deaths then could have been the result of them trying to defeat the leprechaun to end the threat and then the ending of finding and returning the gold but killing it so that they could keep it would have made more sense, instead of seeming completely fortuitous and mostly irrelevant to the story.

The movie also raises a number of points that it never pays off, which is never good in a relatively short movie (this one comes in at about an hour and a half).  The woman inherits it from her father, supposedly, but her brother is the one who hid the gold from the leprechaun and is killed early on.  This wouldn’t be a problem, but it introduces a wrinkle that was unnecessary, and the worst part about it is that her father died when she was young and she was raised by her stepmother, and has issues about wanting to know what her father was like, and also has a potentially interesting relationship with her stepmother who isn’t her real mother but has raised her.  Nothing is done with this potential conflict.  In addition, when the pranks and notes start they suspect that one of her friends is doing it because she had been dating the woman’s boyfriend before they started dating — or, at least, the friend was interested in him first — and so is doing it out of revenge (which is stupid in and of itself, because the first thought should have been someone who had an issue with the brother or even the housekeeper instead of her friend).  However, they also show in a couple of scenes the friend and the boyfriend making out, and the woman catches them at it at one point, and all of this … goes nowhere.  It doesn’t even tie into the boyfriend’s death.  So why even raise it in a movie this short?  All of these things make the movie actually drag at times in a way that it wouldn’t or that would feel better if they were paid off at the end, which they aren’t.

At the end, the stepmother and woman defeat the leprechaun — she offers it a kiss and spits a protective four-leaf clover amulet in its … mouth? … killing it — and they take the gold and go off to start new lives, despite the fact that with all the murders around there they’d probably be main suspects in the deaths.  But, sure, let’s go with that.  Except that the ending drags because they have a long, drawn-out sequence showing this, which can’t work out well because we know that with such a long ending sequence either the leprechaun was going to show up again or else it would just be a terribly long and boring ending.  So it does, and despite taking lots of time showing their life here they end it on the typical “cliffhanger” ending where after the leprechaun seemingly kills the stepmother he attacks the woman and the movie ends there, which is an incredibly disappointing way to end it in an ending that drags out that long.  If they had made it a longer fight and she came out of it at the end then it would at least have justified being that long a sequence, but they didn’t need to take that long to get to that sort of ending and the things that happen in the ending are, again, pointless and don’t add anything and are not paid off.

As you might imagine, this isn’t a very good movie.  It sets up things it doesn’t need and doesn’t resolve, has an unimpressive villain with an unimpressive villainous plot and unimpressive killings, and drags out most of the movie especially the ending, which is actually quite impressive given how short it is.  This is going into my box of movies to sell when I get the chance.

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