The Curse of La Llorona **

There are some decent scares, but it should and could have included a lot more. 

Is it worth $10? No 

That’s right, it’s me! The sorta-great, Matthew Kaiser. I’m here to give you reviews from the crypt and to steer you in the right direction for all your horror needs. Like the great John Wick says, “I’m thinking I’m back.”

Hundreds of years ago, in Mexico, a beautiful mother (Marisol Ramirez) of two boys caught her husband cheating on her. Devastated and wanting revenge, she gave in to a horrific crime of passion. Believing that she could hurt her husband as bad as he hurt her, she decided to take away what he loves most — their children. But not in a way most sane women would do it. She took them away permanently by drowning them in a river. Heartbroken by what she’d done, she takes her own life. You would think that would be the end of her punishment, right? Nope. Her sinful crimes led her to be cursed to travel the Earth, forever searching to replace her dead children. Now known as La Llorona (the weeping woman), tragedy seems to follow as she is seen and heard, weeping from her sorrows.

Fast forward to 1973. A recently widowed child protective services worker, Anna (Linda Cardellini), is trying to survive as a single mother of two children. While working, she’s confronted by her boss. He tries to remove her as the caseworker for a family of three that she’s been with for years. Knowing the family well, she felt that something was very wrong when she’s told that the family is not responding to reports of the children being frequently truant from school. After entering their home, she finds herself drawn into a terrifying world of supernatural horror. The evil spirit, La Llorona, sets her sites on claiming Anna’s children as her own. With the help of a Shaman, Rafael (Raymond Cruz), Anna attempts to fight for her family, and to remove The Curse of La Llorona before it’s too late.

Director Michael Chaves attempts to adapt this Mexican legend, and incorporate it into “The Conjuring” universe, with a modicum of success. The film is set to a creepy atmosphere, a la James Wan, but the pacing is quite slow early on. Even though the film is set in the 1970’s, it never feels quite attached to that era. “La Llorona” has a terrifying design but doesn’t up the ante from such deviants as the Nun or the Annabelle demon, from the same universe. It leaves you hoping for deeper exploration into Hispanic spiritualism and supernatural beliefs.

Linda Cardellini’s acting is a bright stand out amongst her co-stars. While facing the ghostly threat, she delves deep into feelings of fear and of questioning her sanity. Cruz’s character also adds some entertaining humor, which helps. However, there is one scene (no spoilers) at which the entire audience groaned at the sheer ridiculousness of it. That scene may grind the gears of some major horror aficionados.

The horror genre already has a hard time getting under our skin and causing the bumps to rise these days. Fans are begging for quality adrenaline scares. “The Curse of La Llorona” is a good addition to the “The Conjuring” universe of films. It will give you a few good jumps and have you craving for more. My biggest gripe is that it would have been nice to see the potential of what could have been, with a little more care and sharing of the Latinx community’s spiritual and superstitious beliefs.

You may weep at the thought of how horrifying this movie really is. As the studio warns us, before entering the theater, “Warning: Stories of La Llorona have been passed down for generations and many believe her to be real. The story, characters, locales and timelines in this motion picture are fictitious, but La Llorona is believed to be out there RIGHT NOW. Viewer discretion advised.”