*** Out of 5
Tagline- Your Luck Just Ran Out
Release Date- January 8th, 1993
Running Time- 91-Minutes
Writer/Director- Mark Jones
Starring- Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Gorman
Leprechaun was filmed in 1991, but wasn’t released until 1993 and originally the film was meant to be aimed for children, but it was decided later to aim at an older audience so there was some gore added in to secure an R-rating. Leprechaun was a surprise hit for Trimark as it was produced on a budget under a million and ended up grossing roughly 8-million dollars and was quite successful on home video and spawned a whole franchise with Leprechaun 2 getting a small theatrical release and starting with part 3 they went DTV. I’m not really a big fan of the Leprechaun franchise, but I can tolerate some of them enough to revisit certain parts every few years. The 3rd film is my favorite of the series and the one I actually quite enjoy. The Leprechaun franchise has its fan made obvious by the amount of sequels, but what the original has become most known for is starring Jennifer Aniston early in her career as up to this point she wasn’t very well known with her only real notable project being the short lived Ferris Bueller’s Day Off TV series. The following year after Leprechaun, Jennifer Aniston would get the role of Rachel Greene on Friends, which became one of the most successful TV shows of all time and launched Aniston into superstardom and not long after Friends she also became a bankable film star when Friends was on hiatus. When looking back at 90s horror there were plenty of solid films, but the biggest issue even in the better ones is they kind of lacked an identity. What was working well in the early to mid 80s began to grow tiresome by the end of the decade and some of the top horror filmmakers were hitting a bit of a rut. It really wasn’t until 1996 with Scream the 90s found their identity. Leprechaun was fairly successful thanks in part of using a type of villain we haven’t seen before, but at the end of the day while Leprechaun is a fair enough film it isn’t really that different than what we’ve seen before.
After his bag of gold coins are stolen an evil Leprechaun (Davis) kills anybody who stands in his way of getting them back.
Leprechaun was written and directed by Mark Jones and the script is fairly decent with characters that are quite fun. Leprechaun isn’t an action packed film as the script is very much built around the main characters and while I actually liked them, but the longer the scripts focuses on them it does hinder things. Leprechaun is decently plotted, but it feels as if there was something missing. As director Mark Jones crafts a fairly fun film and he establishes a light tone quite early and the fact Jones never really attempts to make a serious picture you can just sit back and enjoy it to some degree. Despite running at only 91-minutes, Leprechaun does have some pace issues when the focus lingers on the main characters for too long and there’s nothing really suspenseful so the final act can feel a little overly long, but Jones also keeps a sense of humor about the film, but I can’t help but think the film would have been better served with a bit more action mixed in. Leprechaun isn’t gonna go down as one of the great horror films and some have complained how the film is inconsistent due to originally being aimed at children to being an R-rated film and I’d disagree there’s no shortage of films like Leprechaun in regards to the tone and violence and the sequels, which were made for an R-rating really aren’t that different than the original.
The cast is fairly solid and Jennifer Aniston gives a fun performance and it isn’t difficult to see why she became such a major Hollywood player. Leprechaun is at its very best when Warwick Davis is onscreen. Warwick is a terrific actor and as the Leprechaun you can clearly see he was having a blast and this also shows in the sequels and even in the weaker films in the series Warwick makes them a bit more bearable. Warwick Davis is quite hysterical, but there’s also something quite sinister about him and his performance here was quite fun and again Leprechaun works best when Warwick is onscreen.
Overall Leprechaun is a fun silly little film that serves its purpose. Nothing here is really meant to be taking seriously and while this isn’t gonna go down as a horror classic its fair enough to make a fun viewing.