Just what's going on at Lionsgate? First they make a perfectly enjoyable if entirely unnecessary sequel to See No Evil, of all the titles in their back catalogue, and now they're rebooting what's probably the most desperately silly horror franchise outside of Charles Band's quadrilogy about homicidal biscuits. How are they picking their projects? Throwing darts at an old copy of Fangoria? The Leprechaun series has been dormant for over a decade anyway and I gave up on it after the fourth one: after increasingly tiresome adventures in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and a load of old pants set in space for no good reason, even I couldn't be bothered with a blaxpo Lep In Da Hood followup. But someone obviously thinks there's mileage, or at least money, in the Leprechaun branding and have reimagined the little feller for a whole new generation.
What they've done is to toss out everything about Leprechaun: the rhyming dialogue, the elaborately jokey death scenes and the silly comedy, and they've also removed all of Lep's Oirishness: no more giant buckles on the shoes or big green hat, and no-one say "begorrah". Now he's more of a monstrous feral beast, barely glimpsed but resembling the alien creature from Xtro. Instead they've cranked up the gore and nastiness, turning it into a proper yukky horror movie in the process which is frankly their only good decision. A quartet of American students holidaying in Ireland are lured into a cabin in the woods, where they're easy prey for the Leprechaun whose gold was stolen by the townsfolk centuries ago, and the locals have been repaying the money ever since. But these tourists are going to be the ones to fight back....
Leprechaun: Origins (which incidentally isn't an origins story) is a co-production with the WWE wrestling organisation, but why? The Lep himself is played by wrestling star Dylan Postl, who fights under the name Hornswoggle, but he doesn't actually get to do very much and is mostly seen in distorted close shots with little movement. They could have put former Environment Secretary John Selwyn Gummer in that costume and the result wouldn't have been significantly different. So why have they bothered?
As a straight horror movie it's pleasantly gruesome - an axe in the face is the look-away highlight - and in all honesty I'm more partial to that than the daft blarney and knockabout from the Warwick Davis series. But it still isn't anything you haven't seen before in a score of other DTV slashkill movies in which oversexed teens run around screaming while being chased by a monster. It's a more than decent Leprechaun movie, but it's a very average horror film.