The Curse of La Llorona

Movie Information

Cheap gimmicks and questionable character behavior undercut this film's horror potential.
Score:

Genre: Horror
Director: Michael Chaves
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez
Rated: R

The Curse of La Llorona might have worked better as a comedy, inviting the audience to laugh with (or at) the ineptness of those who should know better than to turn around suddenly, or look behind a curtain when someone (or something) might be in the room or go up into an attic when running away from a ghost. Haven’t these people watched any horror movies?

OK, two of those characters in this film are kids, so maybe we can cut them a break on the possibility that their mother might not let them watch scary movies.

Mommy shouldn’t let her children watch The Curse of La Llorona, either, but not because it isn’t creepy. There is some haunting imagery, especially if ghosts in bridal dresses make you clench. And there are a whole lot of jump scares — too many, really. Director Michael Chaves clearly wasn’t confident that his movie was frightening enough, so he amps up the scares with quick cuts, shrieking musical cues and an evil spirit reaching out to attack her prey. BOO!

La Llorona, or “The Weeping Woman,” is based on a Mexican folk tale in which a woman drowned her children in revenge against her unfaithful husband. As the legend goes, her spirit has been routinely abducting young children for the past 300 years, attempting to get back the young ones she killed. In this story, social worker Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini, Green Book) and her two children (Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) are the latest to be haunted by the ghost after one of her cases reaches a tragic end.

This may have been a practice run for Chaves, who’s set to direct The Conjuring 3. And if you care, La Llorona takes place in the Conjuring universe, which we learn from a tacked-on flashback with a glimpse of that infamous demonic Annabelle doll. Hopefully, Chaves has learned that movies can actually frighten people without cheap gimmicks that jolt them in their seats. At least the chair you’ll be jumping in this time around will provide a soft cushion with so many luxury recliners now in our local theaters.

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About Ian Casselberry
Ian is an editor, writer and podcaster. You can hear his movie reviews on WISE Sports Radio (1310 and 970 AM, 102.9 FM) Wednesdays at 3:40 p.m. He's written for Heavy, Awful Announcing, Yahoo, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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2 thoughts on “The Curse of La Llorona

  1. Chip Kaufmann

    I have not seen THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA nor am I likely to after reading Mr Casselberry’s review. I would like to draw attention to an earlier film version featuring the same character. In the late 1950s through the early 1960s there was a series of black & white Mexican horror movies that were Gothic in nature. One of the very best of these was a 1961 film called LA MALDICION DE LA LLORONA known as THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN in English. For years this and the other Mexican horror films existed only in cheap, badly dubbed copies. Back in 2009 an outfit called Casanegra released a number of these classic films in uncut, pristine prints in the original Spanish. Unfortunately they are now out of print but some are available on You Tube (avoid the dubbed versions if possible, the originals have subtitles). They were much beloved by the late Ken Hanke who even scheduled a few for the Thursday Night Horror Picture Shows. While CRYING WOMAN won’t scare you and is certainly old school horror (think Val Lewton meets Mario Bava), it and the others are certainly worth investigating for the serious horror film enthusiast. You can get a sample of what CRYING WOMAN looks like on Google Images.

    • Your recommendation and the history you provided are very much appreciated, Mr. Kaufman. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find La Maldicion de La Llorona on YouTube or maybe another streaming option. And I wish I would’ve seen these Mexican horror movies at the Thursday Night Horror Picture Shows with you guys, including Ken. Thank you for the response!

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