In Latin American folklore, La Llorona, or “the weeping woman”, is a wronged woman who drowned her sons in a fit of rage and now haunts the living in search of unattended children she can claim as her own, before drowning them. Cut to 1973. Social worker and single mother Anna (Linda Cardellini) gets caught up in a case that leads La Llorona into her household… and it’s no wonder she’s weeping, because she’s stuck in formulaic dreck of the highest order.
Indeed, there are moments in The Curse of La Llorona that had me laughing out loud, and when the laughs are louder than the gasps in a supposedly serious horror movie, something has gone seriously wrong. Whether it’s spirit detection with spinning eggs, the blessing of swimming pool water or the sacred vial whose popped lid sounds like a grenade pin being pulled out, Michael Chaves’ debut feature is littered with moments of staggering stupidity. Worse though is the sheer fecklessness of this latest entry in the Conjuring canon, epitomised by the throwaway connection the film fashions to the ever-expanding and increasingly uninspired horror universe. Aided and abetted by screenwriters Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, Chaves churns out a nondescript shocker that boasts dull jump scares and telegraphed narrative beats we’ve seen a thousand times before. It’s so offensively bland that you’ll begin to actively root for the sobbing spectre to get her way with the kids so that the action wraps up quicker.
It’s turkeys like this that makes you deeply thankful for original horror that comes from a place of genuine passion and creativity, like Jordan Peele’s recently released Us (link) or Lee Cronin’s upcoming Irish horror gem The Hole In The Ground. Choose to watch these instead of this lazy, albeit occasionally hilarious, dud.
The Curse of La Llorona | Directed by Michael Chaves (US, 2019), with Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Tony Amendola. Starts April 18.
Check our OV search engine for showtimes.