There’s a moment somewhere in the first half of The Curse of La Llorona where we very briefly see the little girl in this movie watching a bit from 1969 Scooby Do, Where Are You! — the “Hassle in the Castle” episode, to be exact. It may have only been on screen for a couple of seconds, but those couple seconds were better than anything else in The Curse of La Llorona, I can promise you that.
From first-time feature film director Michael Chaves and Five Feet Apart writers Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, The Curse of La Llorona is the latest film to take place inside of Warner Brothers Conjuring universe.
I mean, it’s only been, like, six months since The Nun came out, right? Given that the folks over at this particular film studio are so insistent on shoving this Conjuring franchise down our throats whether we like it or not, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised they already deemed it time for the next entry.
The Curse of La Llorona opens a couple of hundred years ago, back when La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) — I honestly don’t think she was ever given a real name during this entire 93-minute film — was a nice, respectable mother who deeply loved her two children.
She deeply loves her children unless a man gets in the way, that is, as she very quickly decides to drown both of them in a river upon learning that her husband is cheating on her, their deaths supposedly making said husband lose the things he loves most in the world.
While La Llorona deeply regrets that decision, it apparently grants her passage into Hell or something like that (this part is completely breezed over) as it turns her into this murderous ghost who becomes hellbent on drowning other people’s children.
More often than not, those other people are usually single parents, too — a fact that really doesn’t make any sense the more you think about it. If La Llorona has beef against men, why is she out there punishing mothers who are raising kids by themselves?
I guess that it doesn’t actually matter because nothing in The Curse of La Llorona makes much sense or is particularly interesting, honestly.
Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini, who plays Velma in the live-action Scooby-Doo and OH MY GOD, I GET WHY THEY SHOWED THAT CLIP NOW) and her two children, Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) and Chris (Roman Christou), are the latest to suffer at the hands of La Llorona. None of them want to admit it at first, as Anna just wants to dismiss it as some kind of practical joke or excuse that Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) — who is one of her cases at the child protective service center that Anna works at — came up with.
Yet, a good 45-minutes of runtime and a thousand jump scares later (I wish I was kidding), the Garcia family has no other choice but to acknowledge the evil that’s lurking in the shadows.
I’d say that a fun drinking game would be to take a shot every time you see a common horror movie cliché during The Curse of La Llorona, but that’s something I just can’t recommend as I think most people would be passed out before the half-way point.
I’m going to say what I always say when reviewing one of these Conjuring spinoff movies — there was potential here to be good. Turning the Warren’s basement into a Friday the 13th-like (the TV show, that is, which has nothing to do with the films) cabinet of horrors could be a lot of fun and then lend itself to some interesting and unique stories.
Yet, once again, there’s nothing interesting or unique about The Curse of La Llorona, even though that really shouldn’t be the case.
With all this folklore and Mexican culture that the movie could have dabbled in, I was really hoping for something that would capitalize on everything available in the world that it’s set in. I’m thinking something along the lines of what Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone did for Spanish culture, or what Hellboy did for the horror comic culture (I’ve accepted that I will be preaching the 2019 Hellboy gospel to a bunch of believers from now until the rest of my life) — you know, something that isn’t afraid to explore the world or people that surround the story.
The Curse of La Llorona doesn’t do any of that. What could have been an inclusive, eye-opening and diversified story instead just feels like a bunch of out-of-touch producers were watching Veronica on Netflix a couple of years ago and thought they could do that same thing with an even cheaper budget.
All they got to do is slap that Conjuring title on it (similar to what The Cloverfield Paradox did) and they knew people would come, so who cares if it’s actually good, right?
It’s not just the lack of substance that stinks, though, but it’s this movie’s commitment to being so aggressively stupid and boring. This is the kind of film where the whole audience is going to scream at the characters not to do that very stupid thing, only for them to proceed in doing exactly that.
And, okay, maybe we could have even done something with that? They very clumsily mention that Anna’s husband passed away recently (subtlety is also not one of this movie’s strengths) — maybe the reason why nobody will talk about the creepy things that are happening relates to denial and grief, meaning they could have done along the lines of Hereditary?
Instead, the factoid only serves as a plot device to get characters to walk around the house by themselves at night before being confronted with jump scares and a ghost that came straight out of Insidious: Chapter 2.
I mean, I know James Wan was a producer for The Curse of La Llorona, but there’s no way that even he could deny how similar the two creatures look.
The one redeeming factor about The Curse of La Llorona — and I mean that, too, because there’s really only one good thing about this movie — is Breaking Bad’s Raymond Cruz. Cruz plays the spiritual expert cliché who we all knew would be a big part of the second half of this film, but he at least has some fun while he’s doing it and brings some much-needed humor into the mix. Granted, all his jokes come right after some really cringe-worthy dialogue, meaning it might just be the relief of seeing someone who isn’t taking this thing so seriously on-screen, but I’ll take whatever we can get.
That’s it, folks. Apart from Cruz and a couple of neat camera tricks, there is quite literally no reason to see The Curse of La Llorona whatsoever. What really stinks about this whole thing is that Chaves, for some reason, has already signed on to direct The Conjuring 3. No disrespect to the guy or anything like that, but if Conjuring 3 is anything like The Curse of La Llorona then we’re going to be in some serious trouble (to be fair, the script is largely to blame for this movie as well).
And, I’m going to end this with how I always end these Conjuring spinoff reviews — begging Warner Brothers to stop. What they’re doing isn’t working, and every time they put one of these things out there it just hurts the brand. Coming from someone who loves The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, it kind of breaks my heart to see them tank so many of these things.
They aren’t showing any signs of stopping, though, as it’s only a couple of months before Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters and we’ll be doing this all over again.
Check out of the trailer for The Curse of La Llorona here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the movie!
'The Curse of La Llorona' - Do better, Warner Brothers [REVIEW]2