By Brett Mullins
Mark Jones’ Leprechaun is a 1993 slasher comedy reminiscent of Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street, and its many sequels, in terms of the manner in which the film develops its villain.
Returning home in luxury, following his trip to Ireland, Dan O’Grady is pursued by the Leprechaun whose gold he rogued. O’Grady is able to trap the Leprechaun in a crate with the assistance of a four leaf clover (a Leprechaun’s Kryptonite), but not before he is severely injured by the creature’s magic. Ten years later, J.D. Reding and his daughter, Tory, move into the vacant O’Grady house and begin to renovate. While investigating the basement, a member of the painting crew accidentally removes the decomposing clover from atop the crate allowing the Leprechaun to be released. Now freed, the Leprechaun returns to his business of shining shoes and attempting to obtain his gold, all the while, terrorizing the home’s new residents.
Once the audience realizes this film isn’t meant to be taken seriously, they can begin to enjoy the experience. This is to say that there are many attributes that scream ‘B-Movie!’ and, if taken at face value, would result in quite a frustrating time. With the exception of Warwick Davis and a young Jennifer Aniston, the acting is rather terrible; it would be best described as ache-inducing.
Unlike many films of this variety, Leprechaun contains a plot that is semi-logical. Sure, it doesn’t feature a deep underlying message, any meaningful character development or an explanation for the very existence of these and other magical creatures, but the basic ‘5 Paragraph’ plot functions well.
While this probably was not on the minds of the creators at the time, it is hard to deny the resemblance of Davis' Leprechaun to that of an aged Jack Nicholson. This aside, Davis’ performance surpasses that of Robert Englund’s later Freddy Kruger to become near the top of the wise cracking horror series villain list; it is a rather exclusive list. It is also worth mentioning that this is probably the best performance of Aniston’s film career.
Leprechaun is not a good film; it isn’t especially funny or scary or, even, suspenseful. It does, however, make for a decent novelty film to be enjoyed with a cold Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.