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.