St. Patrick’s Day is here…with a vengeance! It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day and a local girl has unwittingly unleashed a leprechaun upon the town. The bodies start to pile up as the descendants of the man who vanquished the leprechaun generations ago must stop the curse.
This isn’t your fairy tale leprechaun, this is a vicious fey hell beast bent on destruction because of the torment that was visited upon him centuries ago. Freed from his sylvan prison, he wreaks bloody vengeance upon the townsfolk, stopping only to steal their gold. The girl who unwittingly unleashed the curse has four days to stop him – with only the help of her crazy, drunk grandfather – before she too dies.
This is an interesting take on the leprechaun myth and makes a much more passable basis for a horror film than the original “Leprechaun” movies. The setup is good – using an old Irish folk rhyme to provide the back story during the open instead of some rambling monologue in the middle of the film. The characters know enough of the story to give the viewer what they need without sounding like some idiot savant who happened to read the script. Even the local town drunk expert (played perfectly by William Devane) knows the legends but not necessarily all the details. The overall idea is good, as are a lot of the underlying character details.
The execution, though, is a bit off. We’re treated to a terrifying creature, perhaps pitiable as we learn it was the people of the town long ago who drove the beast to evil, but it then becomes a shallow movie monster. The film also changes tone in terms of its darkness. After a foreboding beginning and the creature’s dreadful resurrection, things start to get a little tongue-in-cheek with a beast that hides in dumpsters waiting to ambush people and a wise-cracking sheriff, played by Billy Zane who plays this role closer to his cheesy “Demon Knight” performance than his gripping “Dead Calm” performance. Had it stayed true to its darker beginnings, this could have been a great film. Instead, it’s just okay.