Stream This? is a feature devoted to exploring and reviewing some of the lesser known and often-times weirder films that can be found on various streaming services. Today, Matt Morrison examines the 2020 horror movie The Leprechaun’s Game.
During the pandemic, I began co-hosting a weekly movie riffing night. Ironically, the more I became invested in this, the less time I devoted to writing about movies like Bad Girls From Mars and Revenge of the Samurai Cop. Yet I feel compelled to write about our latest discovery – a movie that Roy Buckingham and I agreed was the worst movie we had ever seen.
This declaration was met with skepticism by our fellow cheesy movie aficionados and I can understand why. Texan pride demands that we defend the honor of “Manos” The Hands of Fate, though most MSTies acknowledge Monster-a Go-Go as the worst movie ever. The true masochists will speak in hushed tones of Things and how it nearly broke Joe Bob Briggs himself. Yet I contend that, in years to come, the name of Louisa Warren shall come to be spoken with the same vitriol reserved for Tommy Wiseau, Scott Shaw and James Nguyen.
The story of The Leprechaun’s Game is simple enough. A group of thieves are approached by a rich collector of cryptids, who hires them to steal a leprechaun’s gold. Miracuously, they manage this after randomly wandering around the woods under a CGI rainbow for several minutes, finding what appears to be a D&D dice bag full of gold coins. Unfortunately, they decide to keep the gold for themselves, and fall prey to the Leprechaun.
While I have seen many movies with nonsensical stories and gratuitous padding, The Leprechaun’s Game somehow manages to be tedious and confusing in equal measure. The tedium comes from the plodding direction, as we wait for the inevitable jump-scares that take several minutes to establish. The confusion stems from how the characters do not react like real people and the mangled mythology of the monster.
Horror movies follow certain genre conventions and key among these is the idea that the reality of the flim be explained by the filmmaker and certain rules established. For instance, Jason from the Friday the 13th movies may be largely invulnerable, but he is afraid of water and won’t attack women who resemble his mother. However, the script by Shannon Holiday and director Louisa Warren explains very little.
What little explanation exists comes from a vlogger called “The Daddy of Doom,” who spins a tale of how the Leprechaun escaped from Hell in the 1800s with gold stolen from the demon Leviathan. This account may be unreliable, however, as he also says the Leprechaun is small and friendly unless you steal from him. (He’s also covering up his bookcases with empty DVD cases, for some reason.)
The Leprechaun (Bao Tieu) is of normal human size and there is no logic behind his actions. He values his gold above all else, yet leaves it lying around for randos to find. He apparently has the ability to track anyone who stole from him, yet has no power to find the gold itself and no interest in retrieving the gold once the thief is dead. He also collects the thieves’ souls, for reasons that are not explained beyond it being his job to gather the souls of the greedy… even though he’s AWOL from his job in Hell.
I could go on about the poor audio quality and the unintentionally shaky camera work, which both lead me to believe this movie was shot with an iPhone. I could discuss the ambiguous ending and the Leprechaun’s apparent ability to magically conjure modern weapons and his unique decision to set one thief on fire with gasoline and matches instead of, say, clubbing him with a shillelagh. However, mere words cannot describe The Leprechaun’s Game. It must be viewed so you may understand why we believe this to be the worst movie ever made. Other films may be more technically incompetent, but no other movie has bored us even as we struggled to understand what we were watching.