A widowed mother Anna (Linda Cardellini) and her children are marked by The Weeping Woman, La Llorona. A cursed spirit who lurks the earth, in search of children to claim for her own.
Following on from two Conjuring’s, two Annabelle’s and a Nun, The Curse of La Llarona is the latest period-set supernatural horror from James Wan’s insanely (financially) successful The Conjuring franchise. Tapping directly into the same tone as the Ouija’s, Sinister’s and Insidous movies, La Llorona is a technically adept horror movie with more-than-passable performances but unfortunately, the plot and dialogue are clichéd, bland and predictable.
At a measured 93 minutes, director Michael Chaves knows not to outstay his welcome, and for that you can be thankful. But from the establishing tracking shot through the Tate-Garcia household you’ll already know every plot beat that will follow.
This franchise is a super old-fashioned carnival ghost train with modern adornments. You set them in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s (because nothing is scarier to a teen audience than being without a mobile phone and internet) carting the audience on a rail through a series of quiet, quiet, BOO! moments, until they reach the other side safely. Besides the calculated, startling jumps there is nothing in The Curse of La Llorona to get under the skin. But to some, it’s a fun ride that elevates the heart rate and teaches you not to let your guard down in during tranquil moments.
There are some bright spots in La Llorona. Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas and Patricia Velásquez do solid work with underwritten roles. The two child actors, Raymond Christou and Jaynee-Lynn Kinchen, are especially good at reacting to things that go bump in the night. La Llarona had the opportunity to offer something new to the franchise, as the 1970’s nuclear family has been hit by the untimely death of a husband and father, who was not only a police officer, but also a religious man. This narrative thread goes boldly nowhere and Sean Patrick Thomas’ character (as the partner of the deceased husband) is unduly side-lined.
If you’re a fan of The Conjuring Universe then The Curse of La Llorona will tick all your franchise boxes, with a strained link to the Annabelle movies that might work for you. If these movies are not your bag, then there’s nothing here that’ll sway that opinion. Hell… if you love the franchise but didn’t end up enjoying La Llorona, not to worry, there’s Annabelle Comes Home (pretty sure this is a Lassie spin-off), and The Conjuring 3 hitting cinemas in the next 18 months.
The Curse Of La Llorona is released on May 3rd in the UK
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