The next spin off in the ever expanding Conjuring Universe is another dark tale drenched in modern horror. In 1673, A woman in Mexico drowns her two children as an act of revenge after she finds out her husband is having an affair with a younger woman, this forms the basis of an urban legend as she returns after death looking for more children. 300 years later, a young family in Los Angeles are haunted by the ‘weeping woman’ after Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini) accidently awakens the evil spirit and sets it free.
The Curse of La Llorona is intense from the offset and continually tries to catch you off guard with its mechanical jump scare set pieces. For the most part, the set pieces are constructed impressively but the depth of the story is hindered by the ruthless intent to scare you.
If you remember the infamous 6 second banned online viral ad from last year for The Nun, you’ll know what to expect here. There are atleast 10 jump scares throughout the movie following the old formula of silence followed by loud noises. The ‘cattle prod’ approach as it is referred to by many critics. This approach feels more and more dated as the film progresses as you are waiting for the next jump scare rather than the next plot development. The ‘weeping woman’ is a constant threat in the house anyway and doesn’t need as many jump scares to scare you. It just feels cheap to throw these old tricks at you over and over when they already have you at the edge of your seat.
The atmosphere is more aligned to Annabelle than The Conjuring or The Nun, hence the in-film reference. Some of the most memorable parts of the film are when it actually slows down, notably the hair massage scene in the bath, this is when the film really begins to shine.
There are times where The Curse of La Llorona really comes into its own and takes small steps away from The Conjuring Universe. However, it always treads back to the ‘norm’ which is a real shame. As a fan of the franchise, there is alot to enjoy here in The Curse of La Llorona but it just feels like a marathon of jump scares at times.
Down to its roots, the movie has an adequate storyline which is simple enough to follow but is still intreaging. The story does become very generic when the medium is involved but there is plenty of humour to mix it up. There are some obvious nods to The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror but the film takes most of its influence from its own franchise which is its downfall as it feels ‘generic’ as a result. This movie felt strangled and restricted by its own franchise as it lacked the courage to go it’s own way and this is becoming a recurring theme.
The Curse of La Llorona is happy to sit in the shadows of The Conjuring Universe, it deserves its place there but could have been the film to take the franchise in a new direction.