Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life. Most of her review work is on her social media pages.
The Curse of La Llorona movie poster
The Curse of La Llorona (Movie Review)
So back I went into the Conjuring Universe and I saw this movie back when it first came out and I was honestly a bit excited because I love the Conjuring movies and I can deal with all the movies they have connected to their timeline because it usually makes sense and ties things together! Even though I'm not of Latin or Hispanic descent, I had heard the story of the Wailing/Crying Woman, La Llorona. Good setup, because you have a ton of backstory, lore, and a good targeted audience because it is a cultural tale that has spanned generations and into pop culture for some. However, with this being a Conjuring Universe side movie, I was already skeptical about it, because my problem with their world that they’re creating is that they take so much care of the main movies and don’t do so with the side movies often like Annabelle or the Nun. With it having such a good head start of good things going for the film, it would be hard for them to fail, right?!
Well, the movie opens with the tale of La Llorona in part. It shows us a family of 3, a mother and 2 sons, back in the late 1600’s in Mexico, who are seeming to be having a good day playing by a river. The mother gives the oldest boy a necklace and then she randomly drowns the both of them one after the other. Completely a cut scene that we’re not really supposed to know why she did what she did yet. After that random act of violence, we cut to 1973 with Linda Cardallini’s character, Anna, who is a children’s caseworker who is working the case of two boys that have been missing from school for a while now. She goes to their home to find them locked up behind a makeshift door to keep them safe, as their mother tells it. Obviously, believing them to be abused at this point, Anna has the right to take them from their home and put them under child protective services basically. We, as the audience, which I found sad, got to watch the boys be attacked by La Llorona that very same night.
The boys both end up drowned in a river and found by the police and Anna is invited to the scene of the crime (for some reason) and she brings HER kids (FOR SOME REASON). She leaves them in the car, and of course, like all kids in movies, they’re dumb, and do the EXACT opposite of what they’re told the moment they’re told not to do it and are out of eyesight of an adult. This causes the plot to push forward of course, because La Llorona needs a new target at this point. Her oldest, her son, Chris, gets out of the car to look at the scene of the crime closer as well and ends up coming across a woman he hears behind an old gated fence crying. When he gets close enough to see the woman, she bursts forward and marks him with a burn on his arm. The boys who were drowned, their mother told Anna that she prayed for this to happen to her. She wanted her sons back so bad that she prayed for the Crying Woman to bring her children back and come to take Anna’s son and daughter, Chris and Sam. Eventually, La Llorona finds a way to encounter Sam and mark her as her next victim as well. They each are haunted daily by the ghost trying to kill them both but won’t say much to their mom or in her defense either.
We then come to our connection back to the main storyline over all of the Conjuring Universe. Linda goes to a priest about her children being haunted and it turns out to be the same priest that dealt with Annabelle before and he refers her to another priest of sorts. (That was it. Nothing big, nothing important. Just a priest referring her to someone else, and the connection really is just a line in the film. Like had they not said that or slipped that line in, this could’ve been a standalone film about a Mexican ghost story with nothing to do with the Conjuring Universe. Bogus.) THAT referred to yet reluctant priest helps Anna find a way to try to combat the spirit. And from there, this movie goes a little bit off the rails for me, and it gets really cheap looking at some points with SUPER cheap scares. They also end up breaking rules that they set up themselves in the movie for and it seemed like they just forgot about them somehow. The thing about horror movies creating rules, especially for demonic and ghost horror, is that you have to stick to the rules that YOU created for your movie! And the rules shouldn't be used as a mechanic to get you around bad writing. The ending of the movie also wants to be scary but is not at all, and that was another problem with this movie, none of it was creative, nor scary.
I think as a whole, I was mostly let down in the way that it was connected into the Conjuring Universe via the priest that we barely remembered from one of the first movies. The other thing that burns me up about it is that they already had a great premise for a movie to use and they just did not use that to their advantage at all. That is what this movie boiled down to for me. It was lazy/bad writing, cheap jump scares, and typical horror movie tropes. Also the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but still somehow managed to have a whole lot of nothing going on at the same time. This movie made me HATE the way children are written in film yet again. They're SOOOO needlessly stupid in this movie that it almost makes me mad and at an age where they should be a bit smarter with more personality. I'd say see if for free or super cheap, but it isn't really necessary to the Conjuring Universe as a film if I’m being honest and without that one line that connects it to Annabelle, it wouldn’t be connected at all.
Actors, Actresses, and Production
|Actor/Actresses||Production Team||Production Companies|
Michael Chaves (director)
New Line Cinema (production company)
James Wan (producer)
Atomic Monster Productions (production company)
Gary Dauberman (producer)
Emile Gladstone Productions (production company)
Emile Gladstone (producer)
Warner Bros. Pictures (distribution company)
Mikki Daughtry (writer)
Tobias Iacanis (writer)
Sean Patrick Thomas
Joseph Bishara (music)
Michael Burgess (cinematography)
Peter Gvozdas (editor)
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This movie is a... Diamond in the Rough!!!
Money! Money! Money!
This movie ended up grossing about $123 million at the end of the day on a minuscule $9 million budget when making the movie in the first place! You can tell that this movie did not have a huge budget for its creation, but they did "the best" with what they had which wasn't much. And regardless, the movie did make almost 14 times what it cost to make so that's great! It just wasn't a great success in the film itself, in addition to the Conjuring Universe or as a whole.