“The Curse of La Llorona” reaps a flawed attempt at horror


Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen and Roman Christou stars as Samantha and Chris Garcia in "The Curse of La Llorona." Warner Bros. Pictures' photo

Exhibiting one of the most flawed and uninspired narratives in contemporary horror, “The Curse of La Llorona” displays nothing original and is reflective of New Line Cinema and Atomic Monster Productions’ lazy filmmaking.

The film takes place in Los Angeles during the 1970s. Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker for Child Protective Services, is a widowed-mother of two children. When Anna hears about the mysterious death of two children she was working with, the legendary ghost of La Llorona targets Anna and her kids as her next victims.

La Llorona, or “the Weeping Woman” in English, is one of the most famous myths in Mexican folklore, along with El Cucuy and the Chupacabra.

As the story goes, there was a woman named Maria who was known in her village for her beauty. When a handsome, wealthy ranchero passes by the village, he notices Maria and instantly falls in love. The couple married and had two boys. However, the ranchero leaves Maria for a younger woman. Heart-broken and enraged, Maria decides to take revenge against her husband and drown their two kids in a river.

Realizing what she had just done, Maria is overwhelmed by guilt and drowns herself. Maria is challenged at the gates of heaven and is told she cannot enter until she is able to locate the souls of her two children. Therefore, her soul roams along rivers and streets in Mexico, searching for her two boys, crying out “mis hijos”, or “my sons,” during the night.

As told by many Mexican parents to their children, when La Llorona comes across children that resemble her own sons, she asks for their forgiveness before killing or drowning them near a body of water. If one is to hear her cry, it is said that they are marked for death and running away would be pointless.

The myth is told to many Mexican children by their parents, including my own, to discourage them from going out at night and to behave correctly.

The story of La Llorona is a harrowing one but holds an immense amount of potential to deliver a truly dreadful horror classic.

Yet, “The Curse of La Llorona” fails to deliver anything scary, and instead delivers a laughably disappointing film, littered with plot-holes and cheap jump scares.

The film barely covers the myth and lore behind La Llorona, and instead creates an overtly exaggerated supernatural being and rushes the pace of the film to get to the “scary” scenes.

This film is anything but scary or terrifying. La Llorona never truly poses a real threat to the family. Her on-screen presence carries a repetitive pattern throughout the film. She’ll come to the house, terrorize the family momentarily and then retreat. Five minutes later, she’ll come back and terrorize the house before retreating again.

This repetition served no value to film other than to attempt to create jump scares and exhibits blatant, uninspired screen-writing.

My biggest gripe with the film, however, was the producers’ decision to incorporate the story of La Llorona into the “Conjuring Universe” film series.

La Llorona is a Mexican myth that takes place in Mexico. By having the film take place in the United States, using white actors as their lead characters, director Michael Chaves is gentrifying a significant part of Mexican culture for the sake of seeking monetary success using the “Conjuring” and La Llorona’s names.

The film would have been better suited as a horror film if it were a stand-alone film set in Mexico with a Spanish script and Mexican actors. This would bring a much more authentic and realistic feel and mood to the film.

At the very least, New Line Cinema and Atomic Monster Productions could have cast a Mexican family. After all, the representation of Mexicans in mainstream cinema is important but overlooked too often by Hollywood producers.

The myth of La Llorona is a crutch for Michael Chaves’ and his producers’ laziness and refusal to attempt to create something original, and I am very disappointed.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.