The most interesting aspect of The Curse of La Llorona is its title. Who is La Llorona? La Llorona (Spanish for “The Weeping Woman) is a legendary Mexican ghost. According to folklore, she drowned her children before killing herself out of shame. Now her ghost forever wanders the earth, forever looking for more children to drown. There, I explained Ms. Llorona to you. Now you don’t have to see the movie.
La Llorona is a folk tale that has been famous in Mexico for at least a century, and if this story has scared people for so long, it probably deserves a film better than this. Linda Cardellini plays Anna, a mother of two who’s recovering from the death of her husband. Her kids became La Llorona’s newest target. Things escalate until we get a special effects laden exorcism scene. While the figure of La Llorona is new to Hollywood, the structure of this film is nothing new.
To be worthwhile, The Curse of La Llorona would need to be particularly well-made, but it’s not. The scare sequences are more laughable than frightening. La Llorona will get close to a child, make a scary face or noise, and then leave for no explained reason. What is she waiting for? We’re never told.
It’s almost as if she realizes that she can’t kill those darn kids too soon or the movie is over. Once the exorcist enters the picture The Curse of La Llorona reveals itself to be a very Catholic film, where crosses and holy water have supernatural powers. This raises the question: why is God punishing La Llorona for killing her children by cursing her to kill more children? His choice of punishment defies both Catholic theology and common sense.
The only bright spot in the film is Linda Cardellini’s performance but it’s difficult to take her seriously when she’s battling ghosts. Seeing her in spooky situations triggers unwelcomed memories of Cardellini’s role as Velma in the Scooby-Doo franchise, which is compounded by the film’s use of Scooby-Doo clips when characters watch television. The use of these clips is an inside joke, and sadly this joke is the film’s only attempt at cleverness.
The Curse of La Llorona is par for the course for Blumhouse Productions – filled with jump scares and nonsense plotting. The films cliché ending carries the implication that La Llorona might rise from the grave again to drown more children. La Llorona is much like Blumhouse – forever cursed to keep making the same mistakes.