Starring: Linda Cardellini, Marisol Ramirez, and Raymond Cruz
Runtime: 1hr. 33mins.
In the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s, scary movies were abundant, keeping horror fans on the edge of their seats in cinemas across the country. Some might not have been as great as others, but they did fit the horror genre mold of scary; R-rated scary. Not this PG-13, let’s get everyone to movies with some water down version of horror. But the real thing, restricted to anyone under 17 years of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. But today, films have gone back to the idea that movies, especially horror, need an R-rating to generate revenue or audiences are going to view them as “cookie cutter” versions of the real thing. Unfortunately, there has been a shortage of good ideas or original content for this genre. It consists of remakes or continuation of series, like the Conjuring series and its spin-off, Annabelle. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a lot of scary movies in recent history tries to duplicate that formula. The Curse of La Llorona would be no exception. And like others that came before, the movie directed by Michael Chaves is second- rate.
The Curse of La Llorona is about a mother (Marisol Ramirez) who was cursed for drowning her children in order to punish her husband whom she thought was having an affair. But when she realized that she was wrong, she was cursed and would endlessly search for replacements of the children she killed. When a social worker mother of two (Linda Cardellini) gets involved with a case of a mother suspected of endangering her children, she ignores the warning of that mother and soon finds herself and her two children drawn into the supernatural realm of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman. Her family must rely on a disillusioned priest (Raymond Cruz) and the spiritualism he practices protecting the family from this evil.
Mediocrity at its best. There are some intense moments when the daughter has to choose either to save her life or the life of her doll. It may come to question the reality of the situation, but the audience must remember that we are watching a small child in a horror movie. Then there is the intense moment of the child’s mother first seeing the ghost for herself in the bathroom as she tries to save her daughter. But overall, the film is predictable and formula based. True horror fans or just regular moviegoers can guess the outcome before it happens. It does not challenge the cerebral.
Raymond Cruz portrays Raphael, the priest. The priest s meant to add comic relief to offset some of the intensity of the “frightening scenes of terror”; but falls short of intention. Cruz is best known for playing Tuco from the popular AMC television series, Breaking Bad where he won a Saturn Award for best guest performance in a television series in 2010.
He reminds me of a drunken Kung Fu master from Saturday morning’s Kung Fu Theater who has a remedy for every supernatural occasion.
It is like watching Batman who packs his utility belt with the special items for that specific encounter. Either he plans accordingly or that utility belt has many hidden compartments. Although it sparks minute interest, this aspect of the film is less than desirable.
If you are a fan of horror, then The Curse of La Llorona will be disappointing. But do not worry, if you are an admirer of the movie Annabelle, then Annabelle Comes Home is due to be released in June of this year. Even with this, it will lack originality. But it may satisfy the palette until next great horror film. Hopefully, we do not have to wait too long.