Michael Chaves brings a new horror movie into the universe of The Conjuring with The Curse of La Llorona, a story of a ghostly woman who can be found by the edge of the river, weeping for her lost children. In the Southwest, adventurous young boys and girls are kept from local waterways because they understand that La Llorona will take any unlucky child she can find to replace her own and drown them in the river.
Familiarity with the legend may lend this movie some extra punch in its ability to frighten local audiences, but even those raised on the story may find the movie somewhat less than terrifying. However, the cast is good, making the movie watchable, even if it isn’t as scary as one might have hoped. Linda Cardellini (Scooby Doo) does well as Anna Tate-Garcia, a widowed social worker with two children, and Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad) is excellent as Rafael Olvera, a defrocked priest who has turned to traditional magic to help his community fight evil. Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen do an admirable job as Chris and Samantha, Anna’s two children who have attracted the notice of La Llorona.
The Curse of La Llorona is set in 1970s Los Angeles, a dry location for a story that revolves around children being drowned in a river. Fortunately for the story, La Llorona appears to be comfortable using swimming pools and bathtubs as well as the traditional rivers and streams.
The story of La Llorona is as frightening as ever, the ghost is suitably scary, yet there is not a lot of horror in this horror movie. Some scary movies make up for such a lack with plentiful jump scares, and while there are a few scares, there are not enough here to keep the tension. Occasional humor provides some of the highlights of the movie. Cruz’s lackluster “taa-daa” after completing “magic” spells to protect the children provides a light moment in one of the more tension-filled segments of the movie.
As a part of the world of The Conjuring, it is possible that this may not be the last we see of the weeping woman.