I just had to rent LEPRECHAUN RETURNS from my local Redbox. The pull was irresistible. This is just who I am. I can’t say no to a straight-to-video horror sequel no matter how unpromising it may look. I will watch any HOWLING, CHILDREN OF THE CORN or HELLRAISER that is thrown at me. I’ve also got a massive soft spot for irreverent cartoon villain horror flicks and feel a profound sadness that RUMPLESTILTSKIN, PINOCCHIO’S REVENGE
Much like last year’s HALLOWEEN, LEPRECHAUN RETURNS wipes the sequel slate clean and is a direct continuation of the first film. It takes place in the same house (which is now home to a sorority), involves the daughter of the original’s heroine and even sports a twenty-five years older survivor (MARK HOLTON). The most profound alteration is the recasting of the titular menace but remarkably, newbie LINDEN PORCO does an exceptional turn in place of WARWICK DAVIS (and sorry, he might even be an improvement). Director STEVEN KOSTANSKI (THE VOID) got his start in make-up effects, which ensures that the diminutive demon looks more horrific than ever before. PORCO’s take is much more fairy tale cackling witch-like and he’s prone to ripping his face off revealing a grimacing skull for added terror. The effects across the board are consistently top-notch and the creative kills are timed perfectly following the old school slasher template. The cast is pretty great too. Lead TAYLOR SPREITLER as Lila is so down to earth normal and likable and she’s got wonderful comic timing. She kind of reminded me of a young LINDA BLAIR and I don’t say that lightly. As you’d expect, there’s a plethora of one-liners, sight gags, and double entendres; some definitely land better than others but it wouldn’t really be a leprechaun movie without a couple of dad-joke groaners. Most importantly, the movie is fun. It knows exactly what made flippant horror sequels such crowd pleasures back in the day and it delivers the goods.
This isn’t prestige horror and that’s precisely the point. I can’t tell you it’s not goofy because it was built to be goofy but goofy is such a much-needed commodity these days. It brings me such joy. I know it’s lowbrow but it’s lowbrow in a way that high brow just can’t compete with- sorta like a hot dog. If you don’t like dopey movies feel free to skip right past this but if you enjoy, snickering gore, Mr. Roper-esque 4th wall destruction