03rd Apr2019

‘Leprechaun Returns’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Taylor Spreitler, Pepi Sonuga, Sai Bennett, Linden Porco, Mark Holton, Oliver Llewellyn Jenkins, Heather McDonald, Ben McGregor, Emily Reid | Written by Suzanne Kelly | Directed by Steven Kostanski

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Who would’ve though that back in the 90s, when the original film debuted, we’d still be talking about the Leprechaun franchise over 25 years later? It almost didn’t happen of course. The previous film in the series, Leprechaun Origins – produced by the WWE no less AND a film that had a small theatrical run in the US – almost… almost, killed the franchise stone dead. However Syfy, god bless their genre-loving souls, decided to give the series another shot – this time under the auspices of one of the members of Astron-6, director Steven Kostanski (who helmed the likes of Manborg, Father’s Day and The Void for the Canadian outfit) and writer Suzanne Kelly, who gave Evil Dead fans one the THE best episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead in the episode “Ashy Slashy”. And it turns out Syfy couldn’t have picked a better team to bring back the evil leprechaun and give the series a much-needed shot in the proverbial arm!

This time round the titular leprechaun returns when the sorority sisters of the Alpha Upsilon house decide to go green and use an old well as their water source. By doing so they unwittingly awaken the pint-sized, green-clad monster, who wants a pot of gold buried near the sorority house! But first he must recover his powers with a killing spree—and only the girls of Alpha Upsilon can stop him.

There’s a very good reason this UK DVD release of Leprechaun Returns also features the original film – it, like a number of franchise-resurrecting films recently (Halloween I’m looking at you), ignores the many sequels that followed the 1993 movie and instead picks up 25 years after that film left off, even featuring actor Mark Holton (Teen Wolf, Teen Wolf Too) in the role of Ozzie again, as he did in 1993. Thankfully, if you’ve never seen any of other films in the series, Leprechaun Returns also works as a stand alone film; only referencing the first film and the original killing spree of the leprechaun on occassion. All you really need to know is that the leprechaun has been resurrected and he did some evil sh*t before; and this film explains that to the audience almost straight away, without too much exposition.

What is obvious from  Leprechaun Returns is that the deadly, wisecracking Leprechaun franchise is back in all its gory glory too – its not even 20 minutes in before Kostanski and co. throw in buckets of of gore and grue; and the blood and guts continue, recapturing the balls to the wall gorefest attitude DTV horror had (at least in my mind) in the pre-Scream era. Sod the irony here. This is gore and terror for sheer funs sake. And Leprechaun Returns is a LOT (and I do mean lot) of fun!

The film is also a throwback to the era in which the Leprechaun series was born. Watching Leprechaun Returns is, honestly, like going back the heady days of Freddy Kreuger as a wiseracking pop culture icon. An era that shaped me as a horror fan and an era I’m glad to say Steven Kostanski and Suzanne Kelly perfectly pastiche – with a film that revitalises a franchise in more ways than one: inventive deaths are back, gallows humour is back and plucky, strong female heroines STILL win the day! Plus Linden Porco’s performance as the titular monster is more than a worthy of following in the footsteps of the iconic Warwick Davis.

If you abandoned the Leprechuan series after Leprechaun 4 (as a lot of people did), or the “Hood” entries for that matter, it’s definitely be worth your while rebooting your love of the series with this franchise redux. I know I’m excited to see more!

**** 4.5

Leprechaun Returns is out now on DVD, in a double-bill with the original film, from Lionsgate.

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