‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Underwhelms as a Film, Intrigues as a Legend

While it wasn’t beloved when it hit theatres earlier this year, I still sat down to watch The Curse of La Llorona this weekend. Keep in mind I’m not particularly invested in The Conjuring universe, which the film wound up being a part of, so I was really looking to experience the film as a standalone.

In The Curse of La Llorona, Linda Cardellini stars as Anna Tate-Garcia, a widowed mother of two children’s who lives are haunted by La Llorona, a Mexican ghost of a woman from the 1600s who, in a fit of insane jealousy and grief, drowned her two young sons and who is then cursed to search for kids to replace her own.

I’ll be upfront with you – you’ve experienced this movie before. It’s kids in peril with a few jump scares and a creepy-looking ghost played by Marisol Ramirez. For Conjuring fans, seeing Father Perez (Tony Amendola) briefly is nice connective tissue, but the role of religious helper comes in the form of Raymond Cruz as Rafael Olvera, a former priest who is now a Curandero (shaman). Everyone does fine work in the film, which for some reason is set in 1973, a time period that is barely used apart from a solid opening scene featuring Cardellini’s Anna rushing to get her kids off to school set to Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly’.

The Curse of La Llorona is standard B-horror stuff; what I actually found more interesting were the bonus features on the Blu-ray that reveals that La Llorona is a legitimate piece of Latin American folklore. Actors Ramirez, Amendola, Cruz and Patricia Velásquez all discuss its history, revealing that they were all well-versed in it prior to signing up for the film. I’ve got to think it would be pretty damn scary to be working on a film where a part of your culture you’ve been taught to dread is actually being brought to life right in front of you. There’s also a solid making-of feature where you can watch director Michael Chaves and producer James Wan collaborate on the film, and the enthusiasm they brought to the table.

You can order the Blu-ray of The Curse of La Llorona here.

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