The Curse of La Llorona

tclaposterThe Curse of La Llorona (2019)
R | 1h 33min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 19 April 2019 (USA)

Synopsis: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. Their only hope to survive La Llorona’s deadly wrath may be a disillusioned priest and the mysticism he practices to keep evil at bay, on the fringes where fear and faith collide.

PODCAST: Listen to my interview with actor Raymond Cruz.

Review: I am a big “fan” of The Conjuring franchise. I use fan lightly because horror films are the hardest for me to watch. But I really appreciate how well done they are and how they have been able to build that brand. THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is on the far edge of The Conjuring Universe. The only tie in I could find was a small moment with the priest from ANNABELLE. Other than that it is its own stand alone flick.

The premise is pretty straight forward. Anna (Linda Cardellini) and her two young children are being stalked by the entity known as La Llorona. Latin folklore tells of a distraught woman who steals little kids to replace her own children whom she drowned. Anna has to enlist the help of Rafael  (Raymond Cruz) a former priest who uses unconventional methods to get rid of evil spirits.

Most of the 90-minutes of this film is the battle with La Llorona. There is just a small amount of set up so you know the whos and whys. Then it jumps – literally – right to the good stuff. The effects and sounds are intense and I believe elevate the scare factor. But again I am an easy target. It did start to get a little formulaic near the end. When there was a dramatic pause I seriously could count to 5 and sure enough the loud shriek and attack would happen. I was ok with that as it help me prepare. Others will find it too predictable and campy.

The imagery is creepy and I can see why mothers would tell their kids the story of La Llorona to get them to behave. The belief was that if children disobeyed or were disrespectful La Llorona would come and steal them in the middle of the night. Sleep tight! Like the other Conjuring films this one pays attention to the details of look and style. Though not as terrifying as The Nun this character does have some chilling features.

Speaking of The Nun. I would rank this one on par with that film for those keeping score. Though her character was horrifying in small glimpses her own film sort of fell flat. This one too seems to have the concept going for it more than the actual film. I can see the importance of it in how it shines some light on the Latin culture. La Llorona is a part of their heritage of storytelling and to have its own film can be a good thing.

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is rated R for violence and terror. Though not as scary as some of the other in the franchise it is still pretty darn intense. I know that families familiar with the story will want to take their younger kids but be ready for some sleepless nights and a high electric bill. For fans of the genre will find it a tad underwhelming while those looking for a cultural legend come to life on the big screen should be delighted. I hear a woman crying… gotta go.