Unlucky Charms (2013)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long

Company: Full Moon Entertainment

Runtime: 67 mins

Format: Screener

Plot: Five girls compete for a chance to model diva Deedee DeVille's fashion line, but they're soon competing for their lives against four mythical beings, led by the mischievous leprechaun, Farr Darrig.

Full Moon, while I grew up watching and loving their more classic B-Movies, it's no secret at all that the current incarnation of the company has turned in, well, just outright shitty stuff, more often then not for the last decade or more. Yes, there have been some nice diamonds in the rough (The first Gingerdead Man, Zombies vs Strippers, the Evil Bong trilogy...hell, even the second Gingerdead Man, while I'm not a big fan of, was still way better then some of the other shit Full Moon has strung out in recent years), but for the most part their movies these days are boring, sad excuses to make low budget porno, or just all around hard to sit through even though they're only about an hour long. At first I was kind of excited to sit down and give a chance to Unlucky Charms and review it, because I always love me some good killer leprechaun action, but then I read what it was actually about and thought to myself that this was, yet again, just another excuse for Full Moon to make another low budget porno in disguise (the dreadful Killer Eye movies, anyone?).

In this latest offering from Full Moon Entertainment, a group of scantily clad lingerie models all meet at a remote mansion in the middle of nowhere, covered in video cameras, in order to partake in a model-themed reality show competition. It's not long before one of them ends up unleashing an ancient leprechaun and his various creepy-looking monster pals, who then go around causing mayhem and mischief. While Unlucky Charms does indeed have some of that soft-core porno stuff that I hate from most of Full Moon's more recent flicks, it's scaled down a lot from what you would expect (it's really only the one scene here), which considering the type of characters that make up the movie and how little they wear during most of it, is pretty impressive. It also helps that the one scene of it leads directly into some of that monster mayhem, so for once it actually, sort of, has a reason to be in the movie.

What I was disappointed with though, is that the monsters weren’t really the evil characters of the movie but were actually nice and were just being controlled by an evil person using strong black magic to bind them. See, I personally hate it when movies do stuff like that, after spending all the lead-up time during the production advertising these magical monsters as being evil, it almost feels like a cop-out when they turn out to be kind and gentle and it's just a regular human that's really the evil person of the movie. Hell, even the cover art for the movie would lead you to believe that the leprechaun and his pals were evil and the antagonists here, but that's simply just another case of misleading cover art. And while I won't reveal which character is behind it all, the movie doesn't really try to hide it either, pretty much revealing the identity around the 20-minute mark of this just-barely-an-hour long movie.

And even though the movie is only an hour long, it actually takes forever to really get moving. Sure, we cut to the magical monsters roaming the house from time to time, but they don't really do a whole lot until the last 10 minutes, which is pretty much on-par with Full Moon's current style of movie-making. It was also disappointing that the death scenes were all bland, boring, and unimaginative. I was hoping for some really good, funny, and inventive death scenes along the likes of the Wishmaster movies or the classic Leprechaun series, but all we get are the monsters shooting magic beams from their hands or eyes and the person vaporizes. That's it.

Unlike most other recent Full Moon movies though, a good portion of the acting here is surprisingly good. Even more surprising when you consider that most everyone is an Unknown (a couple ex-Disney stars grown up that haven’t gone on to do much, a minor character from The Walking Dead, and a handful of Playboy Playmates). Only real big name of note here is Charlie O'Connell (2-Headed Shark Attack, Devil's Prey, Sliders). We here at the B-Movie Shelf always love the O'Connell brothers and he does not disappoint, playing a sleazy producer for this model-themed reality game show, looking more to get his dick wet then he is anything else. Him aside, everyone else is actually a lot of fun to watch as well, even though many are not likable in the slightest, the actors ham it up enough that you can't help but find this cast of characters entertaining, be it cat fighting and bitching at one another, teaming up to find missing friends, taking on harsh criticism from the producers, or just standing around and showing off their assets in, well, more-then-revealing 'clothes'. While not a whole lot happens until toward the end, there's still rarely a dull moment thanks to how entertaining these characters are and how well their actors portray that, in the hammiest, cheesiest, campiest ways possible.

And it's not just the human characters either. The monster group is just as interesting to watch, be it the horny one-eyed cyclops, the withering old witch, her creepy-faced little scream-loving pet thing, or the gentle-hearted leprechaun himself, they all hate being forced to kill these people and long for the days of ancient history when their magic was used solely for good, by people who understood how to use it properly. There was actually a surprisingly high amount of genuine emotion portrayed by the movie in it's opening and closing bookend scenes dealing with that, and it's an attention to mature subtext that I don't know if I've ever seen Full Moon pull off before, or even attempt to. In lesser hands those scenes would have failed, but Nathan Phillips as the leprechaun character not only shines, he is outright phenomenal in the role, owning every scene he is in and totally deserving of being an A-list actor, in far better movies then B-Movies such as this or Wolf Creek.

With Full Moon next making a Gingerdead Man vs Evil Bong movie (hopefully it can redeem the Gingerdead Man franchise after that terrible third movie), I can easily see them down the line making a Killjoy vs Unlucky Charms movie. Just think about it: One is pure evil and the other on the side of good, both have magical powers and both have their own team of fellow monstrous misfits. Seeing as how Killjoy started off terrible but each movie got better and better and even better still as they went along, and this movie was actually pretty decent itself, a crossover movie between the two should work out to be Full Moon's best effort to date, if it keeps following that path. 

Maybe though there should be an Unlucky Charms 2 first, just to better establish these fun characters, because if there's one thing this movie did, it was make me want to spend more time with this little leprechaun and his friends. 

7/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


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