Beginning in 1993, the Leprechaun series has had a surprising number of entries, seven and one remake/re-imagining. Even more surprisingly the latest was released as late as December 2018.
It’s a wild ride of a series that includes Warwick Davis playing the diminutive killer for 6 of the movies. Jennifer Aniston’s debut film role, a film set in space, the hood and enough bad Irish jokes to get everyone watching groaning.
It’s easy to dismiss the series outright, I mean it’s eight films about a Leprechaun but doing so would deprive most of some entertaining horror flicks.
This is our definitive ranking of the series to date based off our original scores that we gave when we reviewed them. If several movies got the same score then those ones will be in order of which one we think is the better film. It’s not necessarily the best order to watch them but it’s what we think is the worst up to the best.
8: Leprechaun – Back 2 Tha Hood (2003)
Our Score: 2/10
Released in 2003, the offensively named Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (offensive because of how rubbish it is) continues the ‘blaxploitation’ style of the previous movie but removes all the charm, comedy, interesting leads & decent acting.
Back 2 Tha Hood does the seemingly impossible task of being worse than Leprechaun in the Hood. A boring story, terrible characters & casual racism combine to make a movie that is near unwatchable. Even Warwick Davis has clearly checked out at this stage.
It’s hard to be disappointed with the poor quality of Back 2 Tha Hood because no-one should have any expectations going in. However it ends up being so much worse. Check out our full review here.
7: Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Our Score: 3/10
Well, it’s finally happened. We’ve hit rock bottom with the Leprechaun series. After a trip to Vegas followed by a jaunt in space we now see old Leppy end up in hood. An unashamed ‘blaxploitation’ movie, Leprechaun in the Hood is a snore-fest touching upon every character cliche possible.
A lot of the acting is solid. The main trio (Butch, Postmaster P. & Stray Bullet) do a decent job & while their characters are embarrassingly basic they are believable as friends. Ice-T also stands out as one of the villains of the movie. More so then Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun.
It’s a pity that it’s cliched characters, bare-bones story & attempts to be relevant (by the year 2000’s standard) just result in a sub-standard watch. Check out our full review here.
6: Leprechaun Origins (2014)
Our Score: 4/10
The aim of this reboot was to give the Leprechaun franchise a new, gritty and more realistic take on the legend. The end result is a shambolic mess.
The entire plot is filled in at convenient moments by characters & it isn’t until 54 minutes into a 90 minute movie that we get even a passing glimpse at the Leprechaun. Considering it’s supposed to be the star of the film & all we’ve seen up to this point implies a cross between a boar & the Predator (yes, that Predator).
It has moments that show promise but it’s mostly made up of rehashed ideas, bad clichés & poor acting. I also can’t forgive the awful looking Leprechaun. Check out our full review here.
5: Leprechaun 2 (1994)
Our Score: 5.5/10
Leprechaun 2 has no association with any of the events of the first film. The only link being the Leprechaun character once again played by Warwick Davis.
The movie is very silly, Warwick Davis plays the Leprechaun as a way more comedic character & while he has a certain intenseness to him, it’s hard to really be intimidated by him. His dialogue is very cheesy & always in rhyme. It’s very dumb but oddly entertaining.
The same can’t be said for most of the other actors. While not particularly bad, the characters they portray have been seen over & over again to the point of utter boredom. It is though, admirable just how much effort they put into making Leprechaun seem like a serious threat. Check out our full review here.
4: Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)
Our Score: 6/10
As is the norm with the Leprechaun sequels, this 4th one has absolutely nothing to do with the previous three films. The only link is the Leprechaun himself once again played by the great Warwick Davis. He really is the best thing about these movies.
Leprechaun 4: In Space is still an enjoyable & idiotic romp. It’s dumb, it’s silly & it isn’t as funny as it often thinks it is (a cross-dressing scene seems to last forever) but it’s doesn’t shy away from any of its flaws.
In fact, it embraces them, turns the dial up to 11 & just asks you to detach any semblance of logic. It’s a Leprechaun in space, for goodness sake, you shouldn’t be taking this film seriously at all. The bloody Leprechaun uses a light-sabre at one stage!
All in all, not the worst Leprechaun movie but certainly not the best. Leprechaun 4: In Space can be looked at as the last of the series to really use its imagination. Check out our full review here.
3: Leprechaun (1993)
Our Score: 6/10
Surely a contender for the ‘so bad, it’s good’ award…
So some old bloke steals a Leprechaun’s pot of gold & returns back home to celebrate with his wife. This Leprechaun does not give up so easily & follows the man home. The man manages to trap the Leprechaun in a box before having a stroke. Fast-forward 10 years…a father & his teenage daughter (played by Jennifer Aniston in her first ever role) move into the house. The Leprechaun is accidently released & starts searching for his pot of gold while killing anyone that gets in his way.
It’s an enjoyable movie that just feels a little too long in the end. Not likely to scare anyone nowadays but with some good gore scenes it does raise the age rating a bit. Warwick Davis does a wonderful job. Check out our full review here.
2: Leprechaun 3 (1995)
Our Score: 6.5/10
Released in 1995, a year after the release of Leprechaun 2 (which in turn came a year after the first movie), Leprechaun 3 shares nothing with its predecessors except Warwick Davis who continues his role as the diminutive evil Irish creature.
At this stage in the Leprechaun series, the most you can hope for is an entertaining & comedic horror. Leprechaun 3 delivers on most of those fronts.
It’s well acted, its comedy works way better than any of the previous films but it doesn’t have much in way of horror. It’s not scary, not in the slightest & it’s very light on gore. The kills instead are more tongue in cheek & silly. Check out our full review here.
1: Leprechaun Returns (2018)
Our Score: 7/10
Following in the footsteps of Halloween, this new entry in the long running Leprechaun series is not a reboot but a sequel to the original movie and that one alone. Every single movie after the 1993 horror has been retconned, especially the poor attempt to reboot it in 2014.
Leprechaun Returns embraces the silliness of the series overall but also tells a story that his thoughtful and entertaining for the most part. Fans of the original will have a blast spotting the references and nods to it.
There is a hell of a lot of fun to be had here. Thanks to good pacing, good acting, some really funny moments and plenty of gory deaths. It’s shot so well, so much so you’ll quickly forget that this is a SyFy TV movie. Check out our full review here.