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Leprechaun Movie Review
LEPRECHAUN MOVIE REVIEW
“Leprechaun” is a 1993 lighthearted horror/comedy movie directed by Mark Jones for Trimark Pictures and has Jennifer Aniston in her first starring role in a theatrical feature film. It is a very likeable film that offers something for everyone and delves in the fantasy genre. Jennifer Aniston does a great job in the lead role, the year before she would come to fame in “Friends”.
In the film’s opening sequence, Dan O’Grady (Shay Duffin) returns to his quaint house in North Dakota after visiting his native Ireland and tricking a leprechaun out of his pot of gold. He has shipped the gold to his home and is surprised to find that the leprechaun has followed him from the Emerald Isle and wants his gold back. O’Grady fights with the leprechaun and manages to lock the little person in a wooden crate in his basement, with a four leaf clover on top of the box, which prevents the leprechaun from getting out of his wooden cell. But now ten years later, O’Grady is in a retirement home and his neglected, dusty house has changed hands to the new owner.
Jennifer Aniston plays Tory Reding, a pretty L.A. city girl who loves her nice clothing, L.A. Gear sneakers, cell phone and spending money. She goes with her father to rural North Dakota to spend the summer at the O’Grady house, a now, rustic fixer upper home that he has bought out in the country. After they arrive and go into the basement, Tory sees all the dust, dirt, spider webs and has second thoughts. She has had enough and goes outside to make reservations at the closest hotel.
While on her cell phone with the hotel, Tory bumps into Nathan (Ken Olandt) the friendly, handsome painter who is working on her father’s house, along with his two employees, his little brother Alex (Robert Gorman) and fat, dreamer Ozzie (Mark Holton). She accidentally knocks over Nathan’s can of paint thinner and offers him money for the spilled can. After she tells him why she is leaving, he laughs at her for being a typical girl who is afraid of spiders and dirty old houses, when guys are not. She can’t believe this sexist comment and to prove to Nathan that she is a woman of the 90’s and can take on anything, Tory has a change of heart and decides to stay to show him that she can do anything a man can do. Tory and Nathan do have an instant attraction to each other, which also has something to do with her decision to remain and not head off to the hotel so quickly.
Dwarf actor Warwick Davis “Willow” wonderfully plays the title role of the leprechaun and really sinks his teeth into the part. He is a mischievous, wise cracking leprechaun who looks like a cross between the leprechaun from the box cover of Lucky Charms cereal and an evil troll, all decked out in St. Patrick’s Day green attire; jacket, top hat, bright colored pants and Irish red hair and beard. He will stop at nothing to get his gold back and harasses or kills those whom he feels took it from him and/or know where it is.
When Tory and her new friends accidentally let the leprechaun out of his crate, all hell breaks loose. They must now survive the vengeance of the mad leprechaun, but the only way to do so is to return him his missing bag of gold or locate a four leaf clover, the only true defense against the leprechaun. As they combat the leprechaun at the isolated farmhouse, they will need the luck of the Irish to survive the night.
The writing, directing, cinematography, editing and performances are all solid and deliver. Gabe Z. Bartalos does a fine job with the leprechaun’s special make-up here as well. The actors are well cast, have fun with their roles and have put enough energy into their parts that they are very believable and the audience can easily identify with them.
Mark Holton “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”, “Teen Wolf” provides the real comic relief as Ozzie, the clumsy, humpty dumpty, easily excited, member of the painting crew, who is a big kid trapped in a man’s body. He believes in UFO’s, fairies, leprechauns, folklore and tells wild tales. They all think he is crazy after he tells them of their letting the leprechaun out of the crate in the basement until they see the little Irish fiend with their own eyes.
Saugus, California, located in Los Angeles County, doubles for North Dakota as the filming location. Although made on a low budget, so much heart went into the film that it is all there on the screen. There are some gruesome scenes along the way and a few scares that will make you jump, but it’s all in good fun. The feature film spawned several sequels and if you didn’t catch it in the movie theatre the first time around, it will make a fun film rental and a good movie to add to your home video collection.
Fans of Jennifer Aniston, who would like to see her in a starring role in a feature film at age 22 or 23, and even wielding a shotgun in a scene, in her pre-“Friends” days, would find this film interesting. Jennifer Aniston is also seen here with her natural brown hair and not her trademark light, golden brown blonde locks as seen as Rachel on “Friends” and since then on magazine covers and other films. People should also find “Leprechaun” enjoyable even if they normally do not like horror movies, as there is the comedy element throughout it and the film is not really all that scary.