DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

The Curse of La Llorona Movie Review

The Curse of La Llorona (2019) movie poster The Curse of La Llorona

Theatrical Release: April 19, 2019 / Running Time: 93 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Michael Chaves / Writers: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Cast: Linda Cardellini (Anna Tate-Garcia), Roman Christou (Chris Tate-Garcia), Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen (Samantha Tate-Garcia), Raymond Cruz (Rafael Olvera), Marisol Ramirez (La Llorona), Patricia Velásquez (Patricia Alvarez), Sean Patrick Thomas (Detective Cooper), Tony Amendola (Father Perez), Irene Keng (Donna)


Horror is a genre with little risk and potentially big rewards. You don't need highly-paid actors or costly visual effects to make a hit horror film. Although they can help draw interest, you don't even need a known property or established premise either. Original concepts can pay off too, as the blockbuster numbers of Get Out,
A Quiet Place, and Us have shown. Like Blumhouse and Lionsgate, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema know this and have been exploiting the genre to judicious gain often over the past several years. They're the studios behind It and they certainly don't need such behemothic numbers to turn a profit. Look no further than The Conjuring and its multitude of lucrative spin-offs (Annabelle, The Nun) for proof of that.

As the marketing points out, The Curse of La Llorona hails from the same producers as "The Conjuring Universe" and though no strong attempt is made to link this to that franchise (apart from Tony Amendola reprising his Annabelle priest Father Perez), it's a production that is very much in the same vein nonetheless.

Llorona opens in Mexico in the year 1673. There's a bride drowning children and this apparently is the origin of the Mexican folklore. We jump ahead three hundred years to 1973 Los Angeles, where our attention is on widowed social worker Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) and her two children (Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen).

Widowed social worker Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) has her hands full in "The Curse of La Llorona."

Anna ensures that she is the one assigned to check on Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velásquez), an acquaintance with two sons of her own. Anna finds the kids locked in a closet while Patricia pleads it is for their own safety. Of course, what appears to be child abuse to Anna and her colleagues is really the doings of La Llorona. After the Alvarez children wind up dead, Patricia is arrested. She shows no remorse, though, instead announcing that she has asked La Llorona to wreak havoc upon Anna and her family.

"La Llorona" means "crying woman", but in this movie she does less crying and more blowing open doors and windows and yelling. Anna's daughter and son begin seeing this fabled intruder, in the plastic of an umbrella and inside their house. Anna turns to a local priest (Tony Amendola) for answers, but familiar of the legend, he refers her to Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz, best known as the drug lord Tuco on "Breaking Bad"), a former man of the cloth who now helps those with otherworldly needs.

Rafael is reluctant to help the Tate-Garcias and Anna seems skeptical of it all, but as her colleagues begin investigating her household over the bruises on her children's arms, there really doesn't seem to be any obvious alternative. Rafael may not belong to the priesthood any more, but he remains a devout believer and his brand of Catholicism, which involves crucifixes, holy water, and seeds from a fire tree, is just what this film needs for an only slightly unconventional exorcism that isn't explicitly labeled as such.

La Llorona appears in the attic before the Tate-Garcia children.

The directorial debut of Michael Chaves, who has since landed the job to helm 2020's The Conjuring 3, La Llorona likes the cache that comes from using a culture's folklore, but fails to do anything interesting or cinematic with it.
Written by the duo who penned last month's dreadful cystic fibrosis teen romance Five Feet Apart, La Llorona unfolds with an uninspired parade of jump scares. Unlike the Conjuring films, which are set in the same time period, there is no real life inspiration for this. Nor is there anything distinctive or compelling about the mythology.

La Llorona appears and shrieks and burns children's arms because that's just what she does. If you're not sold on that concept, then the movie will do nothing to win you over. There is no depth to any of the characters and our sympathy for the principal family is flimsy at best. Chaves doesn't give us any confidence that he is the right man to take over the official Conjuring movies from James Wan, who has graduated to directing Aquaman and serves only as a producer here and on the next Warren family horror flick.

With a budget of $15 million, La Llorona looks fine and should fare well at the box office on what next week's Avengers: Endgame opening renders the final weekend of the spring movie season, where its competition is nonthreatening holdovers Shazam! and Pet Sematary and Fox's inspirational Christian drama Breakthrough. But while it should be easy to deem a commercial success, La Llorona must also be declared a complete artistic failure.

Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: Pet SemataryUsShazam!The MustangPenguinsMissing Link
The NunThe ConjuringThe Conjuring 2Annabelle
The Last ExorcismThe Devil InsideParanormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Linda Cardellini: Green BookWelcome to MeHunter KillerThe FounderKill the Irishman | Raymond Cruz: Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season
From the Writers: Five Feet Apart

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed April 12, 2019.

Text copyright 2019 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2019 Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.