February 22, 2022 The Legend of La Llorona (Movie Review)
Consistently putting out quality features, Saban Films hand-delivered The Legend of La Llorona to theaters on January 7, 2022. A few days later, on January 11th, it vaulted into digital and On Demand formats…so is it worth a Horror lovers time?
Before going any further, let’s discuss the story. The tale of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) is inextricably entrenched within the pulsing heart of Mexican folklore and has been recited countless times in hushed tones by parents to their children stoking the fire of agitation within the amygdala. It is a heart wrenching account and is sure to trigger a bout of nyctophobia in any child who has a penchant for nocturnal wandering. Just the vision of being snatched up by skeletal hands and deposited into the netherworld without means of escape is enough to send artic chills running up and down any spine.
In The Legend of La Llorona award-winning Writer-Director, Patricia Harris Seeley (Puppy SOS series, Caution: May Contain Nuts series) creatively intertwines the elements of the folktale of La Llorona into a contemporary setting. The lugubrious mood is set once the play button is depressed. Eyes are involuntarily pinned to the screen by a hodgepodge of images that flit across; photographs, candles and snippets of hand written letters. The lightning speed pace of the introduction coupled with a sinister musical score elevates the barometric pressure of suspense resulting in viewers riveted in place each with handful of popcorn left suspended in midair in anticipation of what is forthcoming in the next 98 minutes.
By all appearances this trip is a fun filled vacation to Mexico for the Candlewoods. On closer inspection we know something is seriously amiss because the mom, Carly (Autumn Reeser: A Glenbrooke Christmas 2020, The 27-hour Day 2021), is unduly preoccupied while the father, Andrew (Antonio Cupo: Blood and Treasure 2019, Sleeping with Danger 2020) is engaged in a halting conversation with the loquacious cab driver Jorge (Danny Trejo: Machete 2010, The Book of Boba Fett series) en route to their destination. Their son Danny (Nicolas Madrazo) is otherwise engaged in a visceral dialogue with a bag. There is a palpable disconnect between Carly and her family. Carly is understandably angry and inconsolable after the devastating loss of her child thus withdrawing and isolating herself from the world in a cocoon woven out of pain.
Once the trio arrives there begins a series of eerie events that culminate in the kidnapping of their son by the petrifying specter of La Llorona (Zamia Fandiño: Preso 2019, Un Dia Para Vivir 2021) Little did they know that their lives would turn upside down. Carly is abruptly swept into the reality of the moment and her motherly instinct goes into hyperdrive. Her single-minded focus becomes: no demonic being on earth was going to keep her from her son.
Overall, The Legend of La Llorona moves along at a good clip keeping you at the edge of their seats with the eerie music paired with suspenseful scenes. Autumn Reeser does a stellar job at conveying the plethora of emotions that plague a mother while mourning the loss of her child as well as her dramatic transformation into a kickass mama bear hellbent on protecting her child from the vice grip of the cursed La Llorona. Carly’s open book persona has forged a strong bond with the viewer and one cannot help but root for her. Meanwhile, Antonio Cupo hones his acting chops as he portrays an upbeat father and husband determined to pick up the pieces of his shattered family and begin anew. This is as Danny Trejo brings his character to life with his charm, wit, and willingness to help a family in crisis, Zamia Fandiño creates a stunning visage of a cursed apparition, and Nicolas Madrazo infuses a child’s vulnerability and innocence in his character portrayal of Danny.
Interestingly enough, there some comedic moments in the mix such as a barrage of bullets aimed at La Llorona to keep her at bay. However, keep one eye open as there is a twist at the end that will have your mind reeling. A must see for all those thirsty for imaginative interpretations of folktales, Cryptic Rock gives The Legend of La Llorona 4 out of 5 stars.