Flippin' Through Franchises: Leprechaun 2

This was an entry in the series I was positive I had never seen before. The others I had at least seen clips but this first sequel was a complete mystery to me. I can’t say I was all that excited to watch it since many people consider it inferior to the first movie, and I already didn’t care for that one too much. But maybe the low expectations would help right? No, no not really. This is indeed a poor sequel to an already pretty poor movie.

I will say the opening at least had me slightly intrigued. We are taken back to the past where the Leprechaun has himself a slave dude. He promises the slave freedom in exchange for him helping the Leprechaun land a girl as his wife. The deal turns shitty when it’s revealed the girl that Leprechaun is after is actually the slave’s daughter. So he has to decide between having his own freedom, or giving away his daughter to a Leprechaun to be his bride. It’s a decision every father has to make at one time or another.

The way this is all set up however is quite strange. First off, the reason that the Leprechaun is able to choose any woman he wishes to be his bride, is because it is his 1000th birthday. …k? Not really sure how that works but these movies seem to make up the rules as they go along so whatever. Also, once he chooses his woman, she doesn’t have to become his bride unless she sneezes three times. If someone intervenes at any point during the sneezes and says, “God bless you”, then the Leprechaun is screwed. It’s such a bizarre, arbitrary set of rules that have to be followed. Perhaps it’s based in actual lore, I’m not sure. Either way, it comes off as dopey here. Anyway the dad does indeed say the words so the Leprechaun’s immediate plan is ruined, though he vows that in 1,000 years he’ll be back to claim one of the family descendants as his bride.

Flash forward to modern day and we meet our lead guy Cody. Cody, along with his uncle Morty, run a limo tour that takes people on a lame tour of what are supposed to be famous murder sites. They are lucky these are the pre-internet days and nobody can hop online and spread the word about what a shitty tour it is they have going. Even without the Internet though, I’m surprised they can make any money off of this at all. Anyway, none of that is important, or at least it shouldn’t be, but the movie spends a lot of its opening act focused on it. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but as with the first movie, most attempts at comedy fall completely flat.

We then meet Cody’s girlfriend Bridget who, not surprisingly, is a descendant of the girl we saw in the opening sequence. The actress playing Bridget is...well…let’s say that it’s surprising she was given the lead role in a motion picture. It’s especially noticeable coming hot off the heels of Jennifer Aniston, who even then was clearly talented and was easily one of the highlights in that movie. Even taking Aniston out of the equation though, this girl would still be noticeably bad. Her line readings are stiff and it sounds as though she is trying unsuccessfully to bury some sort of accent. None of the performances in this movie are particularly good, but hers definitely stands out as a weak link. Also the character of Cody is irritating. So is Morty actually. I think he’s supposed to be funny but I don’t like him. I don’t really like any of them. So that’s no good.

A pleasant surprise is that the movie, once it gets past the whole limo tour business, jumps right into the shit. The Leprechaun shows up and kidnaps Bridget at around the half hour mark, an act you would assume is being reserved for the final sequence. It’s nice to see them come charging out of the gate, but unfortunately they don’t have anywhere interesting to go once they’ve done so. A lot of it is simply treading the same ground that the first movie already covered. Cody ends up with one of the Leprechaun’s gold coins, the Leprechaun gets pissed about this and wants it back, and a few people get killed along the way.

I will say the kills are definitely better in this movie. They are more gruesome and far more imaginative. If I recall, there are only three deaths in the movie but each one of them is better than anything in the first movie. As with the first movie, there is a death about halfway through the movie that only seems to exist to up the gore quotient, but it fits into the overall tone of the movie better.

Speaking of tone, I would say the sequel definitely leans heavier towards comedy than even the first one did, but it’s still not very successful at it. The Leprechaun’s quips almost always land with a thud and the more ridiculous moments, such as a scene when the Leprechaun chases Cody around in a go-kart, aren’t nearly wacky enough to make the whole thing work. There is almost zero attempt at making this a horror movie. The lead characters don’t even seem frightened of the situation, often making quips and jokes when really, they should probably be at least a little concerned. Cody man, your girlfriend was kidnapped by a Leprechaun who wants to murder you and then marry her? Doesn’t that at least give you a moment’s pause?

Leprechaun 2 is watchable and not considerably worse than the first movie. Neither of these assessments rank as much of a compliment but I’m afraid it’s going to have to do. Most of the same problems I had with Leprechaun apply to its sequel as well. The balance of horror and comedy doesn’t work as it’s neither funny nor scary. The acting is quite bad across the board, with the lead actress being particularly terrible. I did like the characters better in the first movie, but the kill scenes work better here so it’s probably an even trade. So there you have it. Both movies are equally as tolerable in their badness.