April 19, 2019 The Curse of La Llorona (Movie Review)
With so many Horror films out there, it is never easy to stand out among the masses. In fact, it seems almost unfair to judge any newly released features of the genre based on originality alone. Now, on Friday, April 19, 2019, Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Curse of La Llorona makes its way to the chopping block. The feature directorial debut from Michael Chaves, who is slated to direct 2020’s The Conjuring 3, The Curse of La Llorona is also produced by James Wan through his Atomic Monster Productions banner. Marking the sixth overall installment in The Conjuring world, the supernatural themed film has many fans curious, but does it deliver?
Giving a little bit of backstory, the history of the La Llorona character, which translates to the Weeping Woman, comes from Mexican folklore. A common tale among certain geographical locations, there have been many films in the past in which the banshee-like character makes appearances, including an episode of NBC’s series Grimm.
In this particular version of the story, written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, the story takes place in the 1970s and focuses on the life of a widowed social worker and mother of two, Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini: Scooby-Doo 2002, Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015). As she gets called into an unusual case of another mother named Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velásquez: The Mother 1999, Arrested Development series), who also has two children, the plot thickens. This leads to a huge disruption of everyone’s daily lives at the hands of the antics of La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez: Right at Your Door 2006, Circle 2015).
The rest of the cast includes Father Perez (Tony Amendola: The Mask of Zorro 1998, Castlevania series), who is the same one who also appears in 2014’s Annabelle; former priest Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz: Alien: Resurrection 1997, The Closer series), who is called upon to help cast away the spirit of La Llorona; and Anna Tate-Garcia’s two children, Chris (Roman Christou: AfterBuzz TV’s Mini Spotlight 2017) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen: Self/less 2015, Enchanted Christmas 2017). Kinchen offers an above average performance, as her young Samantha Garcia character has perhaps the most winning moments that leave you closer to the edge of your seat.
Beyond that, there are some well done jump scare effects and a few not so common plot points, but unfortunately these attributes are the only legs The Curse of La Llorona has to stand on. Is it groundbreaking, terrifying, and original? Absolutely not! But in terms of how it rates as a roller-coaster ride, it gets a Space Mountain rating: it is not that scary or unpredictable, but there is a fun moment around every bend. Additionally, it is also quite the snake charmer to get young children to behave, which may be useful to frustrated parents.
The easy way to digest The Curse of La Llorona is to write it off in a ‘boo’ scare tactic kind of way, but in reality it does not go into more depth than that. Yet, in spite of this fact, The Curse of La Llorona does finds its way into an obtuse rundown of events centering around a creepy depiction of La Llorona, selling the character in a horrifically haunting way. So, for a typical 90 minutes of banshee-driven scream theater, it gets an E for effort.
As a directorial debut for Michael Chaves, the film is on par with any average haunted house tale capable of using standard scare effects to its advantage. The simplicity of the plot can be taken two ways, but either way, The Curse of La Llorona has its moments; although they probably should stay away from the idea of a sequel. Without further interruption, Cryptic Rock give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars.