This news dropped on St. Patrick’s Day (obviously), but it’s too stupid to leave unreported even a couple of days later—SyFy is rebooting the Leprechaun series of horror movies. Again. After WWE Studios last took a whack at the series in 2014 with the spectacularly bad Leprechaun: Origins, a film that “starred” former WWE wrestler Hornswoggle but didn’t see fit to give him a single line, Leprechaun Returns looks to be a return to the formula of the original Leprechaun series, which was of course fronted by Warwick Davis of Willow, Star Wars and Harry Potter fame.
Unfortunately, though, Leprechaun Returns won’t star a returning Davis, who last appeared as the Leprechaun in 2003’s abortive Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. Even though that film was a complete mess (and it most assuredly was), none of it was Davis’ fault—he was the only one even making an effort in a series that had become limited by increasingly minuscule budgets and bad scripts. One would hope that SyFy at least reached out to Davis about having him bring back some of his trademark charisma to the role—it would have guaranteed a sizable viewer base of old-school horror fans happy to see him back. Instead, we got this guy instead, and therein (potentially) lies the problem:
- The tone feels right, back to the macabre sense of humor in the originals
- The costume looks fine
- They at least made an effort to do rhyming and pots ‘o gold and all that.
- Dear god, the guy cannot get a word out of his mouth! Was this not considered worrisome to anyone? He sounds like his mouth is full of mashed potatoes, or that his plastic mouth prosthetic is making it impossible for him to enunciate anything. Compared with Warwick Davis’ classic wordplay, this guy sounds like he’s speaking underwater. I cannot fathom how someone looked at this completed teaser and thought “Yep, that sounds fine!” Did they watch it on mute? Jesus, how many other takes did they do where the voice was even worse than this one? Is it too much to ask for “spree” and “three” to not sound like “spwee” and “thwee”?
Leprechaun Returns has a few other things going for it, if you can somehow get past the unintelligible nature of the title character. It’s directed by Steven Kostanski, who brought us the Lovecraftian throwback of The Void in 2016, with a script from Suzanne Keilly, who writes for Ash vs. Evil Dead. That’s a better pedigree than the series likely deserves, so we’re probably in good hands here. Taylor Spreitler (Kevin Can Wait) is your star, co-starring Pepi Sonuga, Sai Bennett and Linden Porco as the Leprechaun. We’ll even be getting a return from the original 1993 Leprechaun movie in the form of Mark Holton (Pee-Wee’s nemesis Francis in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), who will be reprising his character Ozzie. According to SyFy Wire, Leprechaun Returns takes place 25 years after the original, with the Leprechaun attacking a sorority house full of young girls. Yep, sounds about right.
You know, if Warwick Davis was involved in this project, we’d actually be pretty excited about the possibility. As it is, here’s hoping that SyFy figures out how to make the title character legible before releasing Leprechaun Returns.