This would have been a one-star review, but subversively, Mexican folklore making it into mainstream American film releases is the ultimate middle-finger to what seems like a xenophobic government.
Add horror elements and you can’t give the latest addition of The Conjuring universe more than one star. But The Curse of La Llorona is an untimely addition that seems to only want to capitalise on horror’s popularity – which is a tad disappointing.
It could have done more to provide commentary on American political issues like building walls. Instead, it’s a film riddled with cheap scares, a mediocre horror villain and a somewhat tedious plot that you wish would just be over.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a bad way to warm up for the third Annabelle release (also part of The Conjuring universe) later this year.
Set in Los Angeles in the ’70s, Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker and widowed single mom, is struggling to balance the two roles while still coping with the loss of her husband.
As a skeptic serving a city of believers, Anna has navigated a multitude of phantoms and superstitions in her job, usually finding personal demons lurking beneath.
So when she’s called to the home of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) and finds her two young sons locked in a closet, she interprets their terrified mother’s desperate efforts to keep them locked away as a dangerous sign of abuse.
Though Anna is determined to get Patricia the help she needs, her first concern is the safety of the children. But, because she is unaware of the very real danger they face, Anna has no idea what she’s about to unleash – or the devastation it will cause – when she places a psychiatric hold on their mother and takes the kids into protective custody.
In the deepest hours of the night, a haunting cry echoes through the corridors of the children’s shelter where the two boys sleep. When their bodies are later pulled from the river, their distraught mother lays the blame at Anna’s feet, and leaves her with an eerie warning: La Llorona has her children now … but Anna’s own could be next.
When darkness descends and her kids hear the weeping woman’s ominous cries, Anna is forced to confront the reality of Patricia’s claims: this legendary spirit is hunting children in modern-day Los Angeles … and her own small kids are her prey.
With nowhere else to turn, Anna puts her faith in Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz), a former priest-turned-curandero who has been preparing for this battle all his life.
Bringing his powerful faith and arsenal of spiritual totems, Rafael bands together with Anna and her kids as they batten down the hatches and arm themselves for the onslaught.
Cast: Linda Cardellini , Raymond Cruz , Patricia Velásquez, Marisol Ramirez , Sean Patrick Thomas
Director: Michael Chaves
Classification: 13 VH