Linda CardelliniPatricia Velasquez...
In 1 Cinema
That old soup recipe that your mother taught you probably tastes much better than the canned one you buy. Similarly, sometimes going back to the classic horror film recipe makes for terrifying scenes; the film The Curse of La Llorona is a testament of this.
The Curse of La Llorona follows social worker and widow Anna (Linda Cardellini) as she handles a strange case of child endangerment where two children end up dead. Anna soon discovers that the children may not have been killed by their troubled mother, Patricia (Patricia Velasquez), as expected but rather by an evil spirit from folktales called La Llorona, or the weeping woman. When La Llorona comes for Anna’s own kids, Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen), Anna has to resort to whatever and whoever can help her, including an ex-priest (Raymond Cruz).
The plot is not very innovative, and the only interesting element is the legend of La Llorona which is based on actual folktales. However, the story of La Llorona does not sound realistic, convincing nor even plausible; no woman would drown her children because her husband cheated on her.
The Curse of La Llorona is the latest production from The Conjuring series and clearly takes place in The Conjuring world, making it familiar and not novel, but also somewhat as entertaining as many of its counterparts from the series.
The feature’s use of special effects was not huge as it relied more on suspense and subtle horror which is a definite advantage for it. However, some of the scenes amid the horror action were quite silly. This cartoonish feeling came up more than once in several scenes. Additionally, many parts of the film did not make sense or were not adequately explained, such as the significance of La Llorona’s necklace or Patricia’s adamant revenge and change of heart.
That being said, several scenes from the feature were truly scary, like a bathtub scene with Samantha, a pool scene with Anna, and a back-alley scene with Chris. What set these scenes apart from other silly parts in the movie is that they target basic and relatable human fears; being drowned in a bathtub, something coming at you in the water, and a stranger attacking you in the dark are all scary prospects to most humans.
As for the acting, Linda Cardellini gave a well-balanced performance, moving between subtlety and full expression, just as the part needed. Patricia Velasquez’s performance started great, but as she kept up the same level of “madness”, her performance moved to being somewhat over-the-top and less believable. Both child actors, Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, performed well for their parts with a standout performance from Christou. Raymond Cruz’s performance added some refreshing humour, but didn’t say much about him as the filmmakers relied on the audience’s knowledge of him from other films.
It is not groundbreaking, but watching The Curse of La Llorona with a couple of friends will probably be fun, especially if you are into more classic horror films.