SyFy channel movies are, for what it’s worth, meant to be fun weekend moments to relax to, not to be critiqued. And so when a blogger like me sits down to watch something like Leprechaun’s Revenge, totally expecting to review it, it’s difficult to put the fact that the film is intentionally campy into perspective. Since there is a difference between camp and simply a bad film, there are times when it’s difficult to acknowledge that juxtaposition – for example, all of the SyFy creature feature flicks. Are they meant to be bad, or are they meant to be good and simply come out bad? And how do you review something if you can’t tell the difference?
You review any way you can. And that means, at least for me, the enjoyment factor I got out of Leprechaun’s Revenge goes into the overall review of the film, since it’s difficult to take it seriously as a stand-alone piece. One has to realize that for all of the work that has gone into the film, from After Dark’s production of it to SyFy’s promotion, most people go into a TV-movie expecting little and perhaps getting even less than their expectations.
With Leprechaun’s Revenge, we get a little of both. It’s nice to see Billy Zane here as a cop dad, and in a few ways, he reminds of John Saxon (you know, my go-to guy in horror, for some odd reason) in A Nightmare on Elm Street – a man who doesn’t really have much faith in his daughter as she grows older, who isn’t around much when she needs him. He gives a fairly good performance, at least much better than most of the other cast members, and Leprechaun’s Revenge is strengthened by him being there.
The same is true of our protagonist Karen (Courtney Halverson); Halverson gives a strong performance, and is the driving force of the plot. Her friends might not be so endearing, however, and I’m sorry to call you out Ms. Kelly Washington, but it most certainly was not your best performance.
The film’s plot is, for some strange reason, its strong point. It adapts old Irish folklore with a golem-like leprechaun, and it never falls into the pitfalls of pulling too much from the Leprechaun film series (that’s a good thing, by the way). Instead, it crafts its own blend of Irish myth – that this leprechaun was used simply for luck and now it needs to kill for gold supply.
The one thing that doesn’t really make sense is why Karen is cursed by the red four-leaf clover however. She has four days to live and kill the leprechaun before it kills her – but why does the leprechaun afford her such a long life while it continues to slaughter everyone around her? It’s a plot hole that I couldn’t justify except for the fact that it furthers the storyline.
Leprechaun’s Revenge also suffers from the blight of killing random people just because it can. There’s no introduction of most of the victims besides a very short scene where they enact some mundane chore before getting brutally slaughtered by the leprechaun, and although it does display some of the nice gore effects that the special effects team crafted, it doesn’t do much for the plot besides give the bloodhound some grue before the main storyline really kicks in.
I must mention the poor dialogue however, which is often so awkward that it seems writer Anthony C. Ferrante was trying to come up with the perfect joke and often settled for whatever popped into his head first. Strange bits about “your mom is my mom” or painful speeches by Karen’s admirer mire the script, although we must give credit to Ferrante for the ridiculousness of Billy Zane’s speech about losing Karen’s mother in a shopping mall on Black Friday, never to see her again. These moments seem both so bad they’re intentional, but I’m not entirely sure.
But the film, for all of its rough spots, was a fun little ride on a Saturday St. Patty’s Day night. Your enjoyment might depend on how drunk and forgiving you are, or how much you want to laugh at the campiness of a film that may or may not be trying for humor; but in the end, if you’re not looking for comedy, why did you tune in to a SyFy Feature Film anyway?