The Curse Of La Llorona (2019)
Directed By: Michael Chaves
Written By: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
The Curse of La Llorona is loosely based on a Mexican folktale. The tale itself could have been made into an interesting film. It centers around a young woman from a poor family in a small village. She is known for her good looks and one day when a wealthy man visits the village he is struck by her beauty. The two of them marry and they have two children. As time passes he spends more and more time away from home and she discovers that he has a mistress. In a fit of rage she exacts revenge by drowning their children in the river. Upon realizing what she has done, she throws herself into the same river only to find that because of what she has done, her soul is damned to walk the Earth searching to replace her children. Essentially this means that she kidnaps children and once she realizes they are not hers, she drowns them. There is an interesting movie to be made of this tale, instead someone decided to make this one.
The biggest problem with The Curse of La Llorona is that it never clearly sets up the rules. If you’re telling a story that deals with the paranormal you have got to make sure that the audience understands how the characters can defeat this evil. This movie makes no attempt to do that. In fact, the so-called “expert” in this film is asked how to defeat La Llorona and he essentially replies “I don’t know.” So as the climax of the story unfolds random things are happening on the screen and I don’t have any idea if any of them are going to work or not. There is nothing engaging about watching people guess their way through a problem.
Jump scares are not a bad thing if they are used properly. They can serve to give the audience a nice little jump and they are an effective way to break the tension in a horror movie. They only become a problem when the film overuses them and The Curse of La Llorona feels more like a bunch of scenes wrapped around a bunch of jump scares than it does anything else. Almost as if all of the action and dialogue was written just to guide the viewer from one jump scare to the next. It quickly gets old and the scares lose their impact.
I’ve always been a proponent of supporting horror in the theater, especially original horror. The Curse of La Llorona is starting to make me rethink that stance. It is always a good idea to support quality original horror in the theater, supporting a film like this just encourages more rushed, lazy filmmaking.