The Curse of La Llorona stands on the muddy grounds of horror movie tropes and it’s all it could do not to sink.
When Anna was finally convinced that someone had broken into her home, she calls out, “My husband is a cop. He’s gonna be home any minute.” I’d like to believe that that’s an effective way to scare burglars except her husband, though a cop, is dead and the burglar is a 3000-year-old supernatural creature nicknamed The Weeping Woman. And she’s here to steal Anna’s kids for premium drowning.
In the year 1673, a beautiful Latino woman drowns her kids out of jealousy to spite her cheating husband and she was cursed. She’s been roaming the earth since, drowning other people’s kids to take her children’s place. It’s the classic case of fleshing out folktales and scary children stories.
Anna, who’s just lost her husband, incidentally entangles her family with Llorona. Cue the jump scares.
Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me) takes Anna to dark places but never seems to deliver when she is not scared. Though, justifiably, a woman who just lost her husband, Anna never really seems to be there for the people who are alive. She promises too much: “I promise,” she reassures passionately, and I know it’s not her fault she failed every promise but they could have at least made her try.
I’m writing this in July, 2020, which means I’ve seen Elisabeth Moss’ The Invisible Man and heard the discussions of how it’s the best type of horror and most important film for feminists. What The Invisible Man gets right is what I searched for in this film from The Conjuring Universe led by a single mother of two. After La Llorona’s entry into her family, Rafael, the designated man savior, slowly(literally) walks in. I thought women had been emancipated from men saviors since 2013 when Elsa kissed Anna. With Llorona, it’s hard to watch. Especially because in blockbusters, it’s always a charming prince. In this one, Rafael is grumpy and has the weight of the entire female population on his shoulders and doesn’t even make us laugh, once. Is that the restructuring?
At least, I got a couple of quotes for my Twitter: “You don’t have to be religious to have faith.” “Angry people love to talk.” Other than that, there’s too much fetish for 1973 LA: from chanting to rattling to Tada!… okay, I don’t think that one’s a fetish.
But it took all the candles in the world to light up these characters serious faces so we can at least see remnants of behind-the-scenes laughs to have some fun.
The Weeping Woman a.k.a. La Llorona has a couple of really cool superpowers. She can move anything with her mind, make really cool WWE entrances and can cry blood. Whew.
Invincible villain with few weaknesses, long steady-cam character shots in hallways, “Didn’t you see her?” – horror movie tropes are hardly groaners if you’re a lil bit creative and that’s this film’s saving grace.