Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Curse of La Llorona

½★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Ah, horror. The genre I consider to be that broken clock that's right twice a day. These horror films are a dime-a-dozen, but the vast majority of them are mediocre at best, & downright awful at worst. Every so often, there are some horror films that are truly great, but those sadly seem to be the exception & not the rule.

The Curse of La Llorona is an absolutely horrendous film. Set in 1973 Los Angeles, the film follows Anna Tate-Garcia (played by Linda Cardellini), a widowed social worker & mother to Chris played by Roman Christou) & Samantha (played by Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen). Anna has been recently enveloped in the disappearance of Tomas (played by Aiden Lewandowski) & Carlos (played by Oliver Alexander) Alvarez, the two sons of Patricia Alvarez (played by Patricia Velásquez), who has been visited often by Anna due to concerns over the boys' welfare. Anna arrives at the Alvarez residence & is told by Patricia to not open the door the boys are in; however, Anna does this, & she takes the children to a child services shelter.

While at the shelter, Tomas & Carlos see a woman in a white dress: La Llorona (played by Marisol Ramirez). La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) is a woman from Mexican folklore who was locally renowned for her beauty & had 2 young boys. However, she drowned both of them in the river, but regretted it soon after, cried, & killed herself soon after. They say she still cries to this day, looking for children to take & replace her children. Anna's involvement in the case is blamed by Patricia for causing La Llorona to come for her children, & now La Llorona will soon be searching for the Garcia family; however, Anna doesn't think much of it.

Eventually, La Llorona does come for the Garcia family. They go to a local church for help, but Father Perez (played by Tony Amendola) tells them that it will take a long time for the church to get involved. He sends them in the direction of Rafael Olvera (played by Raymond Cruz), a former priest, to help them defeat La Llorona. But their quest to get rid of her once & for all will prove to be tough.

The cast is awful. Linda Cardellini is completely wasted here, & after this & Green Book, I think she needs a new agent. Raymond Cruz is also wasted here, which is disheartening considering how great he was as Tuco Salamanca on Breaking Bad. And Patricia Velásquez is completely one-dimensional in her performance.

Michael Chaves' direction is terrible. Chaves relies way too much on poorly-executed jump scares instead of trying to build tension & terror, & ends up making the scares come across as unintentionally funny.

And the screenplay by Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis is disastrous. The plot has no nuance to it, the characters are flatter than pancakes, & the dialogue is poorly written.

This is one of the worst horror films I've ever seen. It has nothing even minutely scary in it, is incompetently made, & is unintentionally funny, but not in a good way.

The Curse of La Llorona was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Thursday, April 18, 2019. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 93 minutes, & it is rated R for violence & terror.

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