The Curse of La Llorona Movie Review : An Anemic Script With Too Little Scares
Last Modified On: 18 April 2019 | Reviewed By: Team Moviekoop
In 1970s Los Angeles, the legendary ghost La Llorona is stalking the night and the children. Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother, a social worker and her own kids are drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. Their only hope of surviving La Llorona's deadly wrath is a disillusioned priest who practices mysticism to keep evil at bay.
Director: Michael Chaves | Cast: Linda Cardellini, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Raymond Cruz, John Marshall Jones, Madeleine McGraw, Andrew Tinpo Lee, Irene Keng, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Marisol Ramirez, Sophia Santi, Aiden Lewandowski, DeLaRosa Rivera, Oliver Alexander, Ricardo Mamood-Vega.
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The loosely tied latest entry into “The Conjuring” universe suffers from an anemic script with too little scares and an underappreciation for who would likely be its core audience. Screenwriters Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis (“Five Feet Apart”) approach horror as if only newcomers to the genre will watch the movie. It’s frustratingly simple, the dialogue over-explains everything and while there are a few solid moments of suspense, there’s too much dead air in-between. In the Q&A after the movie, it sounded like an existing script was retrofitted to fit in “The Conjuring” series’ creepy doll, Annabelle, and a few other references.
In his feature debut, Chaves proves himself a close student to James Wan’s visual style, including spooky set pieces that psych out the audience and good use of darkness and interior space. There’s even a nod to Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” camera swoop from the point-of-view of the invading spirit charging the front door. Yet, either because of budget or creative choice, his entry into “The Conjuring” series lacks the aged sense of the original, which felt steeped in horror movies of the late ‘70s. While this story is set in 1973 Los Angeles, it does not feel at home in that era apart from old school TV dinners, lack of cell phones and an old TV set.
Perhaps the film’s most grievous sin is that it isn't very scary. There are a few enjoyable moments – like when La Llorona appears behind the unsuspecting little girl to wash her hair and the ghost attacks kids in a Catholic orphanage – but the plot feels fairly mild, as if one of our traditional dishes was made without enough seasoning. The performances are good despite the script, the design of La Llorona was okay.