Oh boy, you’re going to need a lot more than the “luck of the Irish” to make it through Red Clover – maybe some Irish whiskey, Irish coffee, or a whole slew of Irish car bombs? The sillier of a mood you’re in for this Celtic horror film the better, because you’re going to have to make your own fun with this one. Suffering from almost every horror cliché in the book, and filled with distractingly laughable performances, director Drew Daywalt’s Leprechaun revival is a curse of its own, haunting viewers with a legend better left buried.
Karen O’Hara (Courtney Halverson) is out hunting with her grandfather (William Devane) when she stumbles upon a bright red four-leaf clover, which she picks out of curiosity – bad idea. Right after plucking the oddly colored clover, a fawn-like being emerges from the ground, and Karen finds a strange marking on her hand. Karen shoots the beast, but it manages to escape. Shortly after, people start turning up dead, but local sheriff Conor O’Hara (Billy Zane) refuses to believe there’s a mystical beast killing townspeople, until he sees it for himself. After doing some research, the “Curse Of The Red Clover” is uncovered and Karen learns she has four days to kill the monster that she set loose – which happens to be a leprechaun. Kill the leprechaun, end the curse. Sounds simple.
While most of Red Clover is as big a letdown as finding a pot of gold coins that turn out to be cheap chocolates, lead actress Courtney Halverson does her best to carry this poor production, and considering she’s working with nothing but clichés, tropes, and poor setups, Halverson does her best to remain watchable. It’s a struggle, interacting with an overacting father, a zany “wise old man” grandfather, and an intolerably awkward best friend, but Halverson stays focused on shedding her curse and brutally pulverizing her leprechaun hunter. It’s a shame Halverson is stuck with such SyFy channel shlock, but a job is a job, right?
There’s no excuse for Billy Zane though, playing an Irish cop named O’Hara, but sporting a Brooklyn accident, a goofy hat, and quite possibly the worst performance Billy has ever effortlessly mustered. I’m not sure what research Zane did for his character Conor O’Hara, or what he understands about B-Movie horror, but even for a low-budget, independent, bargain-bin genre film, Zane’s phoned in, silly, over-the top, stereotypical performance defines the lowest of lows. Zane’s perfectly capable of turning in top-notch performances, but Red Clover surely won’t be a shining addition to his catalog.
Furthermore, the film’s production is about as uninspired and tantalizing as a boiled potato, re-using the same swipe fades, exterior housing frames, and drawn-out monologues over, and over, and over again. Every single freakin’ time Daywalt takes us to one of the character’s houses, it’s the same damn fade in, with us looking directly at the front door. Every time Conor talks to his daughter Karen, Zane brings the same overbearing, forceful, fast-talking annoyance. Every time – well, every time something happens, Daywalt just can’t get away from recycling it for numerous re-uses. These tactics become old news extremely quick, but the production team doesn’t particularly care – and we suffer for it.
It’s not like our evil fairy – oh, sorry. That’s technically what a leprechaun is according to Red Clover, a Pan’s Labyrinth looking fawn, not wee little Warwick Davis (and now Hornswoggle!) running around in a green hat saying inappropriate things and stealing gold. Daywalt’s monster is a bit scary, but because Leppy is just a man in a rubber suit, his appearances never linger (sans the finale), and if there are any close-ups, the camera shakes around violently that we can’t even focus.
Going back to repeating the motions, every death is about the Leprechaun popping up, pulling someone off-screen, and then splattering a gob of blood against some sort of wall/object like it’s being shot out of a cannon – or in other words, unnaturally. Over-the-top blood works sometimes, and can rightfully make a simple kill more hilarious, but Red Clover‘s repetitive nature removes the B-movie entertainment necessary for said impact.
For a movie with a DVD cover synopsis that claims it takes place in Louisiana, yet is revealed on-screen to be located in Massachusetts, you get what you pay for with Red Clover. If watching a film that could technically be the origin of Sharknado sounds appealing (yes, the term “Sharknado” is used in the film, which was created a year before SyFy’s smash hit), you might have some fun with this dreadful Irish horror flick, but if you like a bit of ingenuity and craftiness, stay far away from this stale, “we’ve-seen-this-before” production. Hell, I’d rather watch Leprechaun 4: In Space – a true horror fan would know the gravity of that statement.