Plot: The legend of La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, is an infamous one that has haunted Mexican folklore and been shared by countless people. A woman is abandoned by her husband with their two children and consumed with grief, she drowned her own kids. Even in death, La Llorona seeks to continue her vengeance and preys upon her victims by luring them close with her eerie wails. Anna (Linda Cardellini) is coping with her own grief after the death of her husband, while trying to manage her own kids and her job as a social worker. Her latest case involves Patricia (Patricia Velasquez), a mother who has seemingly locked her child inside a closet and seems unstable, convinced that her son is in grave danger. Anna’s encounter with Patricia sparks a connection to La Llorona, which means she and her kids are tormented by the weeping woman, unless she can seek out supernatural intervention.
Entertainment Value: This is considered the sixth movie in The Conjuring series, but The Curse of La Llorona is a standalone picture, so it has loose connections to the others at best. The narrative is predictable, but allows for the usual horror elements to unfold and I did appreciate the cultural touches woven in, which help the movie stand out in the crowded genre. The end result is not a horror experience that is all that memorable, but the movie is a passable watch and is by no means bad. I think it is on par with most of the films in The Conjuring realm, except for the actual Conjuring entries, which I think are the franchise’s best efforts. The pace here is fine and while there are numerous jump scares and cheap audio tricks, I also think the visuals here are well crafted and there is some solid atmosphere. The image of La Llorona is a striking one and while the family drama isn’t that engaging, the horror threads work well enough and while predictable, the movie has some fun moments. In the end, I don’t think the movie deserves the reputation it was given upon release, as it might not be a classic, but it is a decent, watchable horror movie. And for those interested in horror driven by folklore, it is good to see such a high profile installment, I think.
I found the performances here to be solid, though the material doesn’t exactly give the cast a lot of chances to shine. Linda Cardellini has the lead role and as usual, delivers a good effort. The movie doesn’t invest much time in her character’s depth, but she is able to bring across the grief and mom vibes, which is important here. The emotional beats of the film are rushed, but again, Cardellini is able to draw some punch from them, because of her performance. I found her to be likable and she seems to do what she can with the limited material, which is about all you can ask. The most memorable cast member has to be Marisol Ramirez, who stars as La Llorona, one of the creepiest characters to pop up in The Conjuring series. The visual presence of the character adds a lot to the movie and whenever she is around, the atmosphere is much more effective. The cast also includes Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Patricia Velasquez.
The Disc: The Curse of La Llorona looks great in this Blu-ray release from Warner Brothers, which is good news, since the movie has a dark visual design and that can be tricky to replicate. So the contrast was a crucial element here and it performs well, with deep black levels that bring the shadows to life in vivid detail, but don’t obscure the rest of the visual elements. The colors look natural, but a little muted, which is in line with the intended look. The extras include three brief, promotional featurettes, some deleted scenes, and about eighteen minutes of storyboards.
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