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Film Review: The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

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SYNOPSIS:

Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.

REVIEW:

Getting right to the point, “The Curse of La Llorona” is a simply a great horror film! Seeing it first in theatres and then now per home viewing, I can attest to it being one of the best horror films of 2019. Riding hot on the heels of its successfully orchestrated franchise driven horror universe – The Conjuring movies, “The Curse of La Llorona” adds yet another timeline and topic area to the franchise, namely an angry evil revenant bride.

Now for those who follow our reviews, you most likely know that with every Conjuring universe release, we tend to begin with sort of a retro-timeline-connection speel linking those rather frequented released products together. This is not always necessary seeing that you can connect the dots thru past reviews and articles.

None-the-less, The Curse of La Llorona is a stand alone film that can be grouped with its sister releases. Fans need not worry about having to see them all to enjoy this one, however just for the record it all ties with the Annabelle, The Nun and Conjuring movies. Scary at the end of the day, is still scary and that is what The Curse of La Llorona conjures up.

As a frequent horror movie reviewer, I’ve come to recognize the signs of a good production and story line compared to…well, ….another title on the shelf. The elements of fear, dread, and anticipation, combine nicely in intensity with startle moments making for an all around cool ghost scare! This brings us to the latest effort from this group, “The Curse of La Llorona” (also known per legends as The Curse of the Weeping Woman).

The idea arises from traditional Latin American folklore that is imposed on young Mexican children as a form of creepy bed time story. La Llorona is said to reside in or arise from water due to her past history in which details a beautiful woman who was scorned by a rich man sometime after marriage. The husband discovered cheating becomes the target of her revenge. Maria drowns their children as an act of retribution for his unfaithfulness. However, Maria is instantly filled with regret, gilt, and despair after doing so, thus becoming a tortured spirit taking her own life. She is said to be forever searching for her lost children after being denied entrance into heaven. Upon result she was named the crying woman, “La Llorona” who is said to seek out children to take their place, terrifying them in the process.

Now with the release of the film, “The Curse of La Llorona”, this 100 year old legend has been tied into the Conjuring universe bringing viewers another perspective on this old legend.

The film begins with case worker Anna Tate-Garcia(Linda Cardellin) doing a welfare check on a past case, Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) ,we find, has locked her 2 children up in her closet without explanation. The closet containing strange symbolism is later described as being a protective means to keep the children safe. Though Patricia is arrested placing her 2 children in temporary safe custody. The 2 children are unfortunately mysteriously found drowned in the nearby river shortly after that same night.

This begins the journey placing Anna (now in the sites of this old legend) under a prayer curse invoked by Alvarez. Patricia now in mourning blames Anna for putting her children in harms way.

The curse now alerts the spirit of La Llorona to direct her terror upon Anna and her children initiating several days of haunted rage. This revenant spirit begins with infrequent materializations that culminate into placing burn marks on Anna’s children (per grabbing their wrists). Of course all things escalate to major proportions, turning the tables upon Anna. The event prompts Anna to seek out spiritual help which she finds in the former priest, Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz) under the advice other local priest Father Perez.

The formula of “The Curse of La Llorona” feels familiar following a traditional legend-to-tragedy-to-supernatural-entity-terror direction, but does so in a highly effective manner. The jump scares are well placed connecting the intense moments with a lore to reality intent. This, like other Conjuring films, seems to be the golden ticket approach to keeping viewers engaged and on their seats. I was not disappointed in the least and compare this more modern formula to the same tactics used by films like 2017’s It

The Curse of La Llorona was directed by Michael Chaves in his directorial debut. It is considered the 6th installment in the Conjuring Universe.

Additionally, La Llorona was covered in 2013’s Guillermo del Toro film titled “Mama”

The Curse of La Llorona (2019) is now available on bluray per WarnerBrothers

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