Red Clover (2012)
WRITER: Anthony C. Ferrante
DIRECTOR: Drew Daywalt
STARRING: Billy Zane as Sheriff Conor O'Hara
Courtney Halverson as Karen O'Hara
William Devane as Pop O'Hara
QUICK CUT: A family comes together over St. Patrick's Day as a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart.
Karen - Our lead heroine, chief victim, and point of view character. She's smart, snarky, doesn't take a lot of crap, and while her father and grandfather don't always see eye to eye, she loves them both.
Sheriff Conor O'Hara - Karen's father, the sheriff of Keening, MA, and on the one hand he seems to be a very down to Earth guy, tired of his dad being called crazy, and a serious guy but also he's got this quirky sensibility to him that only gets worse as the movie progresses.
Pops - Karen's grandfather and Conor's dad, and he's a believer. He believes in leprechauns, and fairies, and all the rest. With good reason, but everyone else assumes he's the town drunk.
THE GUTS: Top o' the month to ye, Triskelions! As long time readers are aware, the last few years I have been haunted by leprechauns every March, but I finally got through all six of those dastardly movies. So I am pleased to kick off THIS March with Red Clover, or as it is alternatively known, Leprechaun's...Revenge... NOOOO.
All right, fine, it's back to the gold mines with yet another leprechaun movie. The upside here, it's not connected to the other films. And yes, this is WAY more recent than my usual Triskings, but how could I resist a movie with that title, after what I've been through? So fine, let's get into the Leprechaun's Revenge. Just when I thought I was out, they threw me back in...
We get the movie going with a little poetry by our lead, Karen, detailing the history of her town and her ancestors traveling to the states from Ireland. But poetry is boring, so instead let's go hunting! She's out with her grandfather hunting boar, or Pop, when they see something in the brush.
Pop pops off on his own, while Karen finds herself near a tree covered in horseshoes, and at the base of the tree, is a patch of clover. Most notably, one lone red clover amongst all the green, which she plucks. And there's yer title. The clover disappears in a puff of dodgy CGI, and something immediately claws its way up from the dirt.
Karen shoots the monster and everyone runs in opposite directions, heading right into the credits. Afterwards, Karen and Pop meet up with Sheriff Billy Zane, her father. He's none too happy about Pop taking his little girl out on a boar hunt that turned into a leprechaun fest, and takes her home.
Oh, and they zoom past a sign saying they're in Keening, Massachusetts. Hey, guys, bonus points for the continued Irish cultural references, but keening is associated with the bahn sidhe, at least try and keep things with a single mythology!
But meanwhile, a hunter is following the cloven tracks of the creature, and comes face to face with it, and unfortunately he has a gold tooth that the monster wants. Which means we get our first death.
While Pop gets drunk and we find out he believes in leprechauns and fairies, and most of his hunting trips are to keep an eye out for them, Karen hears someone in her house and stalks around with a trophy to kosh whomever broke in over the head.
She hides out in her bedroom, but a monster version of herself bursts through the door, saying she's already dead, and showing off the clover shaped scar she now has since the red clover went poof.
After her scare, she heads into town and runs into a local blogger who loves the paranormal shit and tries to find out what she saw. But that's pretty boring, so let's check in on who the leprechaun is killing for gold to eat now...ooh, a local fisherman!
Karen spends some time running around town asking about the mark on her hand. The internet says it's a curse, her Pops agrees, and the doctors just kinda shrug and say she's got an infection. So a lot of running around with no real answers!
That night, she Skypes with her friend Dax, and she sees the leprechaun lurking in his closet, until she turns around into a cheap jump scare of it really being behind HER.
Karen tries to tell Sheriff Billy Zane about what she really saw in the woods, but he's heard enough crazy stories from Pop to fill a lifetime.
She heads outside to wait for her friends to come pick her up, and along the way she has an episode and does some automatic drawing of a monster and other scribblings.
Her friends pick her up so they can talk about working on parade floats, and it is one long car ride of stilted acting. I don't know what happened here, but every line feels so awkwardly given. Fortunately, they give us another quick fright that makes Karen dive out of the car, sparing us from any more.
When she runs off, she leaves her sketcbook behind, and that allows Dax to do some more thrilling research into the random letters around the drawing into the word luchorpain. Which sends him down the leprechaun route, and thankfully not down the route of Mexican wrestling. It's a good thing he didn't end up spelling chloripanu, or who knows how this movie would have gone?
Sheriff Billy Zane and Deputy Dax's Sister actually find the remains of one of the dead bodies, and go digging through the woods for the creature. But they're not the only ones seeing leprechauns as the doctor who diagnosed Karen with an infection finds it and gets his head smooshed.
Coral the blogger swings by the police station to try and get a quote about what's going on from Deputy Dax's Sister, and they reference a past interaction they had, when a tornado brought...brought sharks...to the lake, and...and she called it a... A...I can't believe this, she called it a Sharknado.
WELL NOW I KNOW WHO TO BLAME FOR THAT WORD. Yes, this is the movie where the word Sharknado comes from, and inspired that bafflingly fun franchise.
Meanwhile, the St. Patrick's Day Massacre continues at Happy's Bar, where the owner is tossing out some trash, and the leprechaun rips his arm off for the gold rings in a flash of dodgy CGI blood.
Karen wanders back into the plot to talk to Coral, and admits she thinks she saw a leprechaun. And the dude could not be more over the rainbow. Nice reaction to your town being wiped out, douchecanoe. Ultimately he's unhelpful aside from confirming what we already know and that she needs to 'face' the leprechaun to get rid of her red clover scar before it kills her.
But since Coral is apparently an idiot, he grabs a gold paperweight he has, and wanders off into the woods to see what he can find. What he finds is death, unsurprisingly.
While wandering around, he hears his car's horn honking, and he gets run over, by the leprechaun, in his car. Excuse you, but this is the wrong leprechaun based franchise for him to be doing that!! ...I am amused at the consistency of leprechauns and cars though.
Karen wanders by Amanda's group working on floats, and her friend's mom handing over a family heirloom of a gold crown for her to wear while she's the parade queen or whatever. Yeah, that's not gonna end badly, not when they take the time to point out the goldness of it.
Oh, and while all this is going on, Pops is wandering around town gathering up horseshoes for reasons that will become clear later. But I'll tell you now that they were what was used to trap the leprechaun back in the day, and are needed to stop him now. Unfortunately, one is missing.
Karen is being escorted home by Dax when the leprechaun wanders by to say hey, and it happens to be RIGHT next to the second horseshoe, perfectly placed for Karen to grab and scare the thing away. Well, isn't that convenient?
So Pops shows up to shoot it away, and he gives some McExposition about how the founders of the town brought the leprechaun over from the old country, drained it of its luck, made it mean, and his great grandfather was hired to hunt it down, binding it with the horseshoes placed at the four compass points, until the bed and breakfast where one of them was kept, burned down and disturbed it. And here we are.
While Sheriff Billy Zane continues investigating, Amanda and her boytoys head to the abandoned brewery for teenaged mischief and drunken behaviour. Oh, and it's where one of the other horseshoes is located.
Fortunately, Pop is heading there just for that reason, but he gets stopped by his son, and Billy Zane is one of the few people that can say, "What is a leprechaun doing in my town, Pop??" with zero sense of irony, and have it sound believable.
The kids keep getting their McResearch on, and find out the mystical configuration for the horseshoes, while the adults gather up the horseshoe from Silver Shamrock. While they're grabbing it, they hear something rustling inside the darkness, and go to check it out.
Before they can get down to finding Amanda and her two dead friends, we get treated to a quick jumpscare with Karen finding the leprechaun hiding behind the fridge door.
Over at the brewery, they find the mutilated bodies of the kids, and the creature lurking around. Sheriff Billy Zane tosses a gold coin between them and the creature, and watch as it pounces and has a nice snack.
Shooting the creature doesn't do much, only the Kryptonite Horseshoes get it to run away. However, the gunshots do make Amanda scream and they find the girl cowering in a corner, lucky to be alive.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Time to kill the leprechaun, just as soon as we find the fourth horseshoe! Fortunately, Karen realises it's in the possession of Amanda's family, and it gets placed onto the float as the Irish Queen heads off to the parade wearing her crown of bait.
And the leprechaun naturally arrives for the party, pouncing on Amanda's mom to eat her gold earrings. He follows to the parade, bounds onto the float, and slices the back of Amanda's head off while grabbing the crown. Well, now he's just being gratuitous.
The horseshoe sends it scurrying off though, right into Deputy Dax's Sister, who doesn't even have time to realise leprechauns are real before she gets eviscerated. Followed by finding a random drunk guy pissing in the alleyway. But since he has gold, he's dead too! All of this with even more spurts of dodgy CGI blood.
But hey, we got the fourth horseshoe, yay! We have a whole bowl of Lucky Charms now!
Karen appears and attacks the creature, gets swatted away, and Dax rushes to her rescue and his very quick demise.
But we caught the leprechaun, yay! Pop grabs it, and the horseshoes, and drives off to the woods, leaving his family behind.
Unfortunately, Pops only has three of the horseshoes when he drives off, figuring that's enough. And it's not long before the leprechaun escapes. Good thing the rest of the family isn't far behind.
Aaaand this is where the movie completely goes off the rails for a bit.
It's largely been a horror/fantasy movie up to this point, with a few laughs, but as Sheriff Billy Zane and his daughter sit in his car before rushing into the woods, things just get *weird*.
He goes off on this long, rambling, revelatory speech about where Karen's mother is. It turns out they went to a Black Friday sale, and he just...lost her. He also rants about how his nametag is wrong, his name should have two N's, not be Conor, and...in any other movie, it would be silly, and funny, and it IS, but it just torpedoes any sense of dread and urgency and everything. "We need to stop the massacre...by the way, the reason your mom is gone is because I lost her in a store!" WHAT IS THIS??
It's one of these weird scenes that there's no problem with, but is just in the WRONG movie. And somehow? Sheriff Billy Zane almost manages to actually sell it.
But yes CONE-er, you are right, you ARE a terrible sheriff. The entire town is dead on your watch.
Fortunately the leprechaun shows up to kill him too, and we can slide into the final fight before this goes any further.
Karen grabs a shillelagh from the dirt, and is soon attacked in the forest. Pops comes to her rescue, but he gets murdered as well for his interference.
So she grabs the four-leaf cleaver, her Pops' shotgun, jumps in the monster truck her dad drives (?!), and rushes down the road to the refinery before the leprechaun can get there to eat up all the gold and heal itself. And that's another one of those, "I can't believe I just typed that" sentences.
Karen runs it over, hops out of the truck, shoots it with the shotgun, stabs it with the clover axe, and buries it in the woods again for another 1000 years. Oh, and her red clover scar disappears in as much dodgy CGI as it appeared.
And that puts another pot of gold under the leprechaun movie rainbow. Surely this is the last one, and there won't be anymore. I survived the Leprechaun's Revenge, and I can get on with a leprechaun free life, while Karen has to get along with every single person she knows being dead.
Video: For a modern made movie, it unsurprisingly looks pretty good.
Audio: Same for the audio, although this disc felt on the quiet side.
Sound Bite: "It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of, and it's happening to me, like I'm trapped in some bad monster movie and I can't get out." Karen's self-aware tirade just might be my entire review of this movie.
Body Count: What the movie lacks in plot or sense, it sure makes up for with ample dead peoples.
1 - Just short of 11 minutes in, and a hunter gets his gold tooth ripped out
2 - A random fisherman gets gutted for his gold.
3 - The local doctor finds the leprechaun and pays the price in gold cufflinks and an exploded head.
4 - Coral gets run over by the leprechaun.
5 - Happy the bartender gets his arm ripped off.
6 - High school dude #1 gets a face-ectomy
7 - High school dude #2 gets killed in some squishy fashion off camera.
8 - Amanda's mom gets gashed so the leprechaun can get me gold.
9 - Then Amanda herself gets her head ripped open so the leprechaun can eat her crown.
10 - And because Deputy Jen was there, she gets gutted.
11 - The leprechaun kills a random drunk for his gold.
12 - Dax dies in an alleyway saving Karen.
13 - Sheriff Billy Zane gets gutted and ripped in half.
14 - The leprechaun guts Pops when he tries to save Karen.
15 - And finally, the leprechaun gets clovered and buried by Karen.
Best Corpse: Hmmm, I think I'll go with Happy. There may be the dodgy CGI blood, but the bony bloody stump was good.
Blood Type - C: There's a decent amount of blood, but a fair amount of it is dodgy CGI blood. I won't hold that against the movie TOO much, since the creators are on record as hating it themselves. When the movie does practical, it's good, and the splatter is nice. I'm also quite pleased with stuff like the ripped off faces, and the leprechaun may seem a bit flat, and in need of texture, but has a nice look to him.
Sex Appeal: The worst it gets is Karen in her underwear.
Drink Up! Whenever someone dies. It's a simple one, this week.
Video Nasties: After the really long clip last time, I went for a very straightforward, and reasonably short clip. It's a good highlight of the sensibilities of the movie, with some good horror moments, some solid blood gushes, with some nice bits of humour. And ironically enough, this clip did get blocked in one lone country when I uploaded it...Ireland. Sorry guys, but I'm gonna leave it.
Movie Review: For the most part, this is a fun little popcorn flick. It relies a bit TOO much on jump scares for my liking, though. It's cheesy and simple, and falls too much into the trap of "introduce random character and kill them a few minutes later" and they never enter the plot proper. But it also puts our main cast in serious danger, and that makes up for it. Courtney Halverson is super charming and funny while totally selling being in a horror movie, and Zane and Devane are fun and worth watching in damned near anything. The cast saves this movie a lot of the time, as it can get very silly and camp. But by Trisk standards, the movie is well made, with a solid enough plot that goes from A to B, and plot logic be damned. Three out of five glowing horseshoes.
Entertainment Value: It's never quite cheesy enough or bad enough to transcend the meager stuff to become super entertaining, but again, the cast keeps things rolling. The cheese is fun, the kills are fun if random, and watching Billy Zane completely go for it with an absolutely bizarre speech is a treat, even while it is mismatched in this movie. It's fun, but nothing special. Three out of five gold coins.