The legend began nearly thirty years ago, and this starting installment to the franchise still holds its own thanks to the legendary Warwick Davis in the titular role.
Ten years ago, at the old O’Grady Place in North Dakota, an evil leprechaun searches for his gold. After killing Old Man O’Grady’s wife, the old man is able to stop the leprechaun by boxing him in a crate and placing a four-leaf clover on it as a means of protection. When Tory Redding and her father move to North Dakota, she is at first unhappy because it is far from her life in Los Angeles. However, with time and meeting locals Nathan, Alex, and Ozzie, her outlook slowly begins to change.
However, when Ozzie accidentally unleashes the leprechaun after hearing his voice, the diminutive creature once again begins his search for the gold. When Ozzie and Alex come across one of the gold shillings, they find themselves hunted down by the leprechaun. Tory and Nathan protect Ozzie and Alex, evading the creature when possible. However, the leprechaun returns, killing along the way to find the foursome at the old O’Grady home. When Tory discovers that old man O’Grady is still alive and is at a rest home, she finds herself going to find him to learn how to defeat the leprechaun.
Warwick Davis by today’s standards, is a legend. Gaining the attention of fans with his role as Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi and the titular Willow, it was fitting Davis takes his experience in the fantasy world and unleash it in the world of horror. Davis is perfectly cast as the titular Leprechaun, who is looking for his stash of gold and will do anything to get it, including kill. Of course, this being a horror film of this era, where the killers tend to have some one-liners, it is destined that this creature is going to have some one-liners as well and succeeds on that level.
A pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston plays Tory well, exactly how she would start playing her iconic role of Rachel Green on the 11-season series. She starts out as a spoiled woman who wishes she was still in Los Angeles and her moving to North Dakota at the decrepit O’Grady House makes her want to get a hotel. Despite a possible and potential romance with local boy Nathan, played by Summer School’s sleeper student Ken Olandt, it is clear Aniston is not too thrilled with surroundings but when coming face to face with the Leprechaun, she somehow must find her inner heroine to stop the creature.
Mark Holton, perhaps best known for his role as Chubby in the Teen Wolf films by this time, plays Ozzie as the one who no one wants to believe, until they are forced to believe. One can only feel bad for Ozzie, who seems mentally challenged but is one who when needed, does help out in the direst of situations. His cohort, Alex, is well played by Robert Gorman, who has one of the all-time best final one-liners in horror films today. Of course, as for Davis, he would reprise the role in five official sequels from 1994 to 2003 before a prequel, Leprechaun: Origins was released in 2014,s tarring former WWE superstar Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl in the titular role and in 2019, Linden Porco took over the role in the retconned-sequel Leprechaun Returns.
The original Leprechaun is a delight to watch, thanks to Warwick Davis’ fine performance in the titular role. It is certainly a horror classic that will remain that way for many years to come.
WFG RATING: B+
A Trimark Pictures production. Director: Mark Jones. Producer: Jeffrey B. Mallian. Writer: Mark Jones. Cinematography: Levie Isaacks. Editing: Christopher Roth.
Cast: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Gorman, Shay Duffin, Pamela Mant, John Sanderford, John Voldstad, William Newman, David Permenter.