The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
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The plot wasn't bad. It would have been more interesting if they showed more of how the legend started, but they had a good idea to go with. What really didn't work for this movie was showing La Llorona too many times, to the point that she wasn't scary. What's always creepy in movies like this is not being able to see their face until the very end, which they had a perfect scene to show her, but by then it was too late.
If you like the Conjuring universe/horror movies, it's a fun watch, just don't expect anything special.
"The Woman from Oklahoma" is frustratingly poor, mostly stemming down from the atrocious writing. The expositional script is nearly absent of any character depth for both the titular ghoul and Velma (forgive me, but Cardellini will always be my Velma). The loose connection with "The Conjuring Universe" is that the father, who explains the entire motives of La La Loner, is the same character from the original 'Annabelle'. That's it. The amount of exposition, for a plot that really doesn't need any whatsoever, is atrocious. And yet, somehow, we practically have no idea why La Macarena is stealing children and how she came about doing this!? All these pathetic explanations and no frickin' depth.
Cardellini was sensationally good. Seriously she saves the film from being the worst of the year (thus far...). Displaying a range of emotions for her children and a ridiculously commanding presence. Sweet lord, I love her. But Velma clearly needed the rest of Mystery Inc. to satisfyingly unmask La Diploma. When Chaves decides to unveil the ghost in the opening sequence in her full form, it leaves little to the imagination. This therefore results in every jump scare (and there are many...) and suspense-driven camera movements to be ineffective.
There is some ingenuity used in various scenes, the umbrella scare was minimally chilling and the long take following Velma throughout her house was well executed. But it's not enough to differentiate itself against every other generic horror film one could easily find on Netflix. The quality and effectiveness that mostly exists in this cinematic universe is not present at all! Predictable right from the bloody start. Velma's children make so many stupid choices that she should've just given them to La Lymphoma. Do not get me started on that doll sequence as the girl reaches out for it on their porch. There's plenty of choking. Eggs explode blood!? Lord, take me now!
Cardellini deserved better. Way better. It started off with an interesting approach on child abuse, but no. Should've known it would throw that out of the window. What should've been a decent mainstream horror turns out to be a supernatural disaster. "I'll See You in Roma" wept its last tear.
If it wasn't for the decent effects, the mostly atmospherical suspense and the children's surprisingly decent acting I'd give this an even lower score. It's that bad. Don't waste your money on this like I did.
The Mexican folklore is not an exception from his ambitious imperialist list for Conjuring Universe. Delocalisation in the blockbuster film project which depicts the local legend is a serious issue aesthetically.
La llorona is said to be the wandering spirit of a woman who murdered her children after her lover betrayed her by marrying another woman. Spurned by St. Peter until she could bring the souls of her children with her to the Gate of Heaven, she roams the earth, crying, "¡Ay, mis hijos, mis hijos!" Her appearance is said to be a sign of impending disaster or death.
This La llorona film is not the first one in film history. The first one was La llorona (1933; 73min.) which made when Mexico film industry started the sound film making during the golden era. You can see full movie from Youtube.
The Curse of La Llorona (2019) is nether a spin off nor reboot of this tale. La Llorona is just the Nun in this Conjuring packaged film to scare people as a spooky house device. However it follows basic plot of the tale formalistically that La Llorona seeks other families' children to be sacrificed for her own victims, her two children. The official story of this film is below:
"When Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker and widow raising her two children in 1970s Los Angeles, is called to check in on one of her cases, she finds signs of foul play. As she digs deeper, she finds striking similarities between the case and the terrifying supernatural occurrences haunting her family. Enlisting the help of a local faith healer, she discovers that La Llorona has latched herself onto Anna and will stop at nothing to take her children. La Llorona, also known as the Weeping Woman, is a female ghost in Latin American folklore who lost her children and causes misfortune to those nearby. As she searches for them, she takes other lost children, making them her own. Anna turns to mysticism with the help of a disillusioned priest to fight the evil entity."
- Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema
In short, the entire plot is that a social worker Anna Garcia 's children become targets of La Llorona after she mistakenly interrupted exorcism of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) which done for protecting Patricia's own children. The twisting plot is strikingly remarkable that Patricia Alvarez turns against Anna and asks La Llorona to get her children for revenge. It is psychological aspect of this La Llorona film.On the contrary, La Llorona itself is emotionless and mechanical, as the result, there is no emotional interaction with any roles in this film.
What other critics mentioned is high dependencies on jump scares; Kurt Barlow-like make up of La Llorona (The Nun is the same); lack of further in-depth approach to the interesting creepy story; anti vampire tools (cross, bible and holy water) for dealing with the monster; the creative tendency to create cinematic spooky house attraction etc..
There is one thing has to be mentioned is the unique character of the ex-priest, La Llorona hunter Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz). He makes Anna and her two children as baits to attract La Llorona for creating a chance to get rid of the evil ghost once and for all. His passiveness during the crisis of Anna's family is something new in this kind of exorcist film.
In general, audiences who want to enjoy spooky house attraction must see this film. However, horror fans who seeks in depth psychological horror drama based on the unique Latin American folklore should see the La Llorona (1933). The Curse of La Llorona (2019) should have explored the psychological aspect of La Llorona instead of creating a spooky house.
The problems with the spirit were very distracting by the end of the film. Very rarely in films like this does anything make a lot of sense, but at least they're not usually as in your face as they are in this film. A spirit that can seemingly do anything, can also only walk through one door to enter a house? An embarrassingly bad piece of writing there. The rules just seemed to be made up as they went along to fit the story.
The film's biggest strength is, as you might imagine, 'La Llorona' herself. She is suitably creepy. She was also used a lot which I liked. Often in these Conjuring universe movies the title character goes missing for large parts of the movie. That can't be said here. The film relies on a lot of jump-scares, some of them are actually done very well and caught me off guard. 'The Curse of La Llorona' does just enough to get by, but there are worse things you could do than going out to see it.