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The Curse of La Llorona (dir. Chaves)

Image: Linda Cardellini and Tony Amendola in The Curse of La Llorona © Property of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. [Source: IMDB]

★☆☆☆☆

Yet another addition to the ‘Conjuring cinematic universe’. Comes another tale of the supernatural, when a mother ignores the warnings of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment. She and her own children are brought into a supernatural struggle.

Director: Michael Chaves. Starring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez [15]

As someone who hasn’t seen much of the ‘conjuring cinematic universe’ and goes into these films with little knowledge about the other stories. I find it to be a remarkable breeze, that’s partly a compliment on their ability to allow accessibility and partly a remark on the fact that they shoehorn in these ideas of all these stories connecting. Yet the reality is the opposite.

What we get from this film and the others like it, notably 2018’s The Nun (the only other I have seen) is a self-contained “haunted house”.  Here the film uses an old Mexican folk tale, exploring a tragic and eerie story that easily sets up a terrifying premise and it is used to some great effect in the opening stages of the film. Creating a sense of foreboding and supernatural terror that you cannot fight against. Something also showed in The Nun. But whereas The Nun kept a fairly strong eerie tone through its location and world building. La Llorona quickly loses any sense of horror and instead dismisses the folk tale, instead using it as something to push cheap gimmicky film making.

Every scene is just a build-up to a jump scare. The story and characters a lost to this goal as is any care or investment the audience might have garnered. The becoming of a box standard, gimmicky horror sideshow is perfectly summed up in its choice to set the movie in dull Los Angeles suburbia instead of say an isolated town in Mexico. The performances hold well enough but serve little purpose as there is no character to them, they are there to serve a tried and overused formulae. The priest who knows about the curse, the rogue agent of good etc etc. La Llorona is another example of dull filmmaking, regurgitating the same gimmicks over and over again to earn a quick buck. Movies such as Get Out, A Quiet Place and others like them show that Horror can be subverting, fresh and commentating to modern audiences. Finding it hard to believe that movies made like this are still drawing audiences in.

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