The 1993 film gets right to the story well enough, albeit in a campy way, but we’re not expecting too much from a 90s movie known for its humorous villain.
With a lead in the beautiful, young, if not spoiled Tory, played by the one and only Jennifer Aniston, LEPRECHAUN plays on the age-old Irish lore of the “wee people,” Leprechauns, who protect their pot of gold.
Its story is simple:
A group of people brought together by happenstance must fight the forces of evil. These aren’t all teenagers, however.
We’ve a too-smart-for-his-own-good kid (brother to the love-interest), a well-meaning simpleton who awakens the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis), and of course Tory, and her budding muscle-bound love interest, Nathan.
The Leprechaun’s antics are comedic and it’s hard to take the film too seriously. Yet there is a message hidden in Leprechaun’s slew of one-liners and comical kills:
Tory, the first character we meet, is an LA girl. The first moments we see her she is complaining about having to leave LA and live in North Dakota. Nothing is good enough for her, not the “dusty old house,” or the lack of shopping malls. But she stays because of the aforementioned love interest questioning her ability to stay in the house. He questions her every “high and mighty” life choice which emboldens her to stay and put up with her less-than-ideal surroundings.
Yet, it’s interesting to note that she doesn’t believe in the pot of gold/Leprechaun business for a good chunk of the movie. Perhaps she doesn’t need to: she offers to put herself up in a hotel at every turn, mentioning money as though it isn’t an issue.
Yet it’s the others in the rural town that are greatly moved by the money: when the little brother and ne’er-do-well friend, Ozzie find the gold, they take it to an appraiser to see if it’s real. This gets the man killed.
The people of the town are workers: the love interest is holding paint thinner in a bucket when Tory bumps into him at the beginning of the movie.
And although we’re never told why Tory and her dad had to move, she remains oddly level-headed throughout the movie, giving orders to the others and being the one to face the Leprechaun head-on when she does find out about the gold.
She wants to end the nightmare and give it back to the Leprechaun (who she doesn’t seem particularly concerned about). She is motivated by ending the constant nightmare she faces—be it a most unwanted move—or a killer Leprechaun.
She isn’t motivated by fear—she’s more annoyed than anything. She wants the nightmare to end. After all, she’s comfortable in who she is, in her status—with money. Her morals are held close to her as we see when she tells Nathan she doesn’t eat meat. She cannot be swayed by a bag of gold that isn’t hers.
It’s even her belief that she can find a four-leaf clover that leads her to do so. And if you can’t guess, a four-leaf clover is the only way to stop a Leprechaun in this cinematic world.
Tory’s strongly held sense of self is what carries the others through this strange ordeal. Her knowledge of who she is and what she wants allows her to bypass any sense of paralysis when faced with the utterly strange. She doesn’t need gold.
She already has wealth. The wealth of money, as far as we know, and the wealth of self-knowledge which can carry her through anything.