This was the weekend of tears. We could choose between Breakthrough a drama about a teen who falls through the ice and ends up in a coma (tear jerker in the extreme) or La Llorona about a crying specter who preys on children. Yeah!
The Curse of La Llorona is in The Conjuring universe, but takes place outside of the main characters stories. This is a story line that highlights Hispanic history and traditions. Though slightly changed in for the film, as with every traditional story portrayed in pop culture, the story of the weeping woman is found in Mexican folklore and has played an important roll in Hispanic culture. This is not her first appearance in American culture, she has been popping up more and more lately in mainstream culture. The Curse of La Llorona also shows US audiences Curandera faith healers and some of their traditions. In a some what controversial step they invited Curanderas to perform limpias, spiritual cleansing before the screening of the film. Some Curandera who were invited attended the screening and others protested.
My screening of the film was on a Saturday night at 6:30 pm because I unfortunately had to work late Friday. The theater was half full and lets just say the audience was very enthusiastic. They yelled at the screen to warn the characters and tell them when they were doing something stupid. Every jump scene was accompanied by several loud screams. The first few times it was funny but it quickly got annoying. It took a suspenseful movie and made it a comedy. Some of the audience really enjoyed this, a few of us eventually just ignored it. When La Lorona revealed her non-spectral form during the climatic ending, a tone deaf audience member yelled out, she’s not even pretty. I guess they would have been more happy with a blonde chick. I thought Mariosl Ramirez is a very beautiful actor and when made up to look like a ghost she was pretty gross. Special effects did a good job making her creepy.
As a mother I found the movie uncomfortable. I love the horror genre, but since I have had my child I do find there are some boundaries I do like being crossed. Kids are to be protected not hunted. As La Llorona got more aggressive I became more stressed and wanted the movie to end faster. The first mother to loose her kids, driven mad with grief, even tells Anna (played by Linda Cardellini) she prayed to La Llorona to take Anna’s kids and bring her kids back. F’ed up and crazy! I can’t believe she didn’t smack her. I mean I know grief makes us crazy, but that is heartless.
Raymond Cruz plays the Curandera they must turn to because the church, with all of the bureaucracy would take to long to help. He is stiff and plays the roll with dry humor. I was on the fence as to weather or not I like him this time. I have enjoyed his work so much in breaking bad, the closer, nip/tuck and even Alien : Resurrection (Not a great movie, but he had fun in it.) I think the problem here was less his acting and more the movie. It was just OK. Some of the scares were legitimately good as were some of the chuckles. I appreciated the fact that it was a Hispanic movie with Hispanic actors. But in the long run this was not a five out of five. It had some drag and in the end is just a scary ghost story. There is nothing wrong with that though. It worked for what it was, it scared people.
As the audience was leaving one girl said “That was a great movie.” another audience member stood up and said “That ain’t true. That was not a movie you bring your grandmother to. Your children to either.” then she turned around and left with her family. In the bathroom I listened to a group from the audience discuss their experiences with haunting. The movie started discussion and they had a fun evening. So I get a big boisterous group and go have fun with the movie.
The Curse of La Lorona released 04/19/2019
Director: Michael Chaves
Staring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez
Distribution Company: Atomic Monster and Warner Brothers Media