The Curse of La Llorona, despite the content of Mexican culture, is a product of producer James Wan, but follows the path of old horror films and lack of breakthroughs. The film only has the effect of expanding the Conjuring Universe but cannot contribute to “revive” this kind of horror film which is somehow becoming more and more boring.
The idea of the film originated from Mexican ancient legend, telling about a beautiful but arrogant girl named Maria, and she only wants to marry rich men. Maria’s wish came true when she got married to a rancher. But then she discovered her husband having an affair with a more beautiful young girl. In retaliation for her husband, Maria drowned her two children to death. After calming down, Maria regretted what she had done, crying while running along the river to find the two children, but it was too late. Soon after, she committed suicide and became an ill-fated ghost called La Llorona – in the Mexican dialect does the word mimic the crying sound. This is a famous ancient legend in Mexico, La Llorona ghost is also often used to deter young children. However, when the film was released, the story of this character was built quite boring. The way to introduce and lead the characters to the audience is also passive, compared to other Conjuring Universe’s villains, which are weak and pale. The times that La Llorona appeared in the film did not create a surprise, and the visualization was not too impressive or scary.
In parallel with the boring creation of La Llorona, the main plot is not very attractive. The film brought the audience back to 1973 in Los Angeles, with the main character being Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a widowed social worker raising two small children. When investigating the case of a mother accused of child violence, Anna discovers mysteries that could not be explained in this case. Increasingly, she realizes the terrible coincidence between the incident of the other mother and the supernatural phenomena happening to her own family, which was La Llorona itself. Before the increasingly repeated threats, Anna is forced to ask the help from a local shaman to get rid of this evil spirit.
Half of the beginning of the film has a bit boring start, and later the speed is pushed faster and the intimidating circumstances are increasing. But the script is not carefully elaborated, of unreasonableleading, with many still-forced details. Only the exorcist Ta Rafael (Raymond Cruz) is a person who has well-created dialogue and psychology, is the most entertaining in the film and brings a few humorous scenes. And the parents of the Garcia family have many actions that viewers have to wonder why they can have such absurdly silent thinking and actions. The way of frightening in the film following the motif of old horror films, takes advantage of thoroughjump-scare, and nothing else. Besides, the audio is also not prepared much. The loudness is just enough, and the soundtrack does not create a macabre, creepy feeling so the viewers’ feelings cannot go up. Therefore, the film is only scary for those who are “weak-hearted” or just watching horror for the first time, and for those who have seen too many horror films, it is easy to get bored.
The plus of the film besides some humorous scenes, exorcism and extermination of La Llorona due to Rafael’s execution is quite a bit, bringing a bit of strange new Latin American culture. The producer has cleverly exploited a new religion and practices to build a branch for the Conjuring Universe. In addition, the actors’ acting is also a bright spot in the film. Linda Cardellini is a really good actress, her expression from panic, pain to grief is well expressed. Looking at Anna Garcia, the audience can see a brave mother who loves and defies all to save her son from the devil whatever it takes.
The Curse of La Lloronais generally a okay horror film, and compared to The Nun, it’s not much better. This is the first horror film directed by Michael Chaves, so it is easy to see that he has chosen a relatively safe direction and has taken the role of Conjuring Universe extension. With the upcoming The Conjuring 3 also directed by him, the film is expected to be more groundbreaking and this horror film universe will regain its charm as previous.