The Curse of La Llorona is the latest installment in the Conjuring Universe, connected to The Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun films. All of which were either directed and/or produced by James Wan (he also directed Saw and Insidious I & II). James and the other filmmakers involved in this franchise do a great job of not using the same old tactics I’ve seen a hundred times. When you’ve watched as many scary movies as I have you can almost predict where the killer is hiding, who’s gonna be the first to die and who will be the hero in the end (yawn).
As I’ve stated in the past I love horror films but I especially love those that are based on urban legends (Candyman, The Ring, The Grudge, etc). In Mexican folklore, La Llorona (also known as “The Weeping Woman”) is the ghost of a woman who drowned her children and now cries while looking for them in the river, often causing misfortune to those who are near or hear her. Stuck between the land of the living and the dead, she spends eternity looking for her lost children. She is always heard weeping for her children and it is said that if you hear her crying, you are to run the opposite way. If you hear her cries, they could bring misfortune or even death. Many parents in Latin America use this story to scare their children from staying out too late.
The film version is set in 1970’s Los Angeles. Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini) is a social worker and widow who realizes that La Llorona has set her sights on her own children, son Chris (Roman Christou) and daughter Sam (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen). She seeks help from a priest, Father Perez, who refers her to a former member of the church turned local expert on La Llorona.
I really liked La Llorona for several reasons:
- The story doesn’t drag. They give you some backstory on how the legend came to be, they introduce you to the main characters and then they get right to business.
- In most scenarios, kids are usually safe. The victims are often teens and adults, you rarely see any harm come to children on screen. However, this is definitely not the case in this movie.
- It’s nice to see myths from other cultures brought to life. Just like Ringu and Ju-on taught us about Japanese folklore, most people had never heard of La Llorona until now.
- Although the story is mostly dark there are some jokes that help bring your heart-rate back down to normal.
Although there is no mention of Ed and Lorraine Warren, there is a scene where you will see a familiar face that ties this film to the rest of the franchise. Don’t worry, you don’t have to binge watch The Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun before you see this, the movie holds up on its own.