Review: Be careful what you wish for

Layne Deyling

“Leprechaun” (1993) hurts so badly you laugh and, by the time it ends, you imagine you enjoyed the pain.

Ten years after Dan O’Grady imprisoned a leprechaun (Warwick Davis) in his basement and made off with a pot of gold, snotty teenager Tory (a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston), moves into his cobwebby farmhouse with her father.

Aided by a dim witted trio of house painters, she loses the leprechaun, who embarks upon a murderous rampage to recover his stolen gold.

This film takes a stab at originality (ever heard of “death by pogo stick” before?) but plunges instead into absurdity. From gaping plot holes (if O’Grady knows how to kill it, why didn’t he a decade ago instead of trapping it in a crate?) to lines more hideous than Warwick Davis’ blood-crusted fingernails, it epitomizes low-budget ’90s B-movies.

Lovers of senseless gore will find Leprechaun up to par, but please don’t hope to be surprised by jump scenes or a clever ending. Most attempts at comedy are as cringe-worthy as the bloodletting and most of the laughs stem from pure mockery.

However, somewhere along the way (for heaven’s sake, please don’t ask me where), the characters grow on you. Tory ends up with half a brain to go along with those cute legs.

The house painters, whose truck bears the epithet “3 Guys That Paint”, include a quintessential ’90s hottie in a sleeveless vest, a big dumb sweetheart, and a snarky 10-year-old who steals the show with his sass.

Together, they bring you to a place where you truly prefer they escape the demented imp and live another day. By the end, you have stopped caring that the clover patch is white dirt lit up by a green spotlight and feel real anxiety as Aniston frantically searches for the ever-elusive four-leaf clover.

These characters do avoid some typical pitfalls. For starters, they don’t split up and run, weaponless and screaming, through the woods alone.

Excepting the scene where Tory’s father shoves his hand down a knothole in a tree, presumably expecting that it won’t be bitten off, our heroes exhibit noteworthy sense. They arm themselves with a shotgun and various bludgeoning devices. While unfortunately neither our house painting hicks nor the L.A. princess read enough fairy tales as children to know that leprechauns cannot be beaten to death, they valiantly try.

In one memorable scene, we are blessed with relief rarely found in horror flicks when the battered characters seize a chance to beat the crap out of their demon-elf tormentor.

All in all, “Leprechaun” is a movie that exists to be made fun of. A sober-minded individual should avoid it like flesh-eating leeches. However, a few friends in a merry mood (and preferably a pint or two for the worse) could find it a grand finish to their Patty’s Day celebration.