Picks and Pans Review: Leprechaun

updated 01/25/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/25/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jennifer Aniston, Warwick Davis, Ken Olandt

They had the potato famine. They have to take the rap for St. Patrick's Day, P. J. O'Rourke and John McEnroe. Now they have the misfortune to be associated with this unimaginative, sluggish, humorless gross-out horror movie. The luck of the Irish is not always good.

This film was written and directed by Mark Jones, who seems to have not so much kissed the Blarney Stone as had it fall on his head. The plot involves a sadistic leprechaun pursuing a sack of gold coins purloined from him by a North Dakota Irish-American who had gone to Ireland for his mother's burial. Jones's idea of wit is to dwell on the leprechaun's rotted teeth or to cut from a clawed face, dripping blood and torn flesh, to a shot of people eating red meat.

Aniston, part of the lively east of the satiric Fox TV show The Edge, is the biggest name associated with the movie. As a Los Angeleno vacationing in the North Dakota house where the leprechaun is trapped, she has to try to handle such lines as "It's not a damned leprechaun." Davis plays the offending sprite, who in his high-heeled brogans and garish-colored outfit looks like an o'transvestite. Olandt helps Aniston complete the requisite horror-movie cute young couple.

The effects are not at all special. Jones's only original thoughts were to give the leprechaun an obsession with shining shoes and add a bit of arcana to monster-movie lore: His leprechaun reacts to four-leaf clovers the way vampires do to crucifixes.

Otherwise, it's hard to get interested. As monsters, leprechauns are minor leaguers compared with the killer bunnies of Night of the Lepus or the berserk Santa of Silent Night, Deadly Night. (R)

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