Review: ‘The Curse Of La Llorona,’ A Wasted Opportunity To Strengthen The Conjuring Universe

This week we get treated to the sixth installment in the Conjuring universe with The Curse of La Llorona. Yes, this may come as a shock to many of you, but The Curse of La Llorona is (LOOSELY) connected to the other Conjuring films. The film is based off the urban legend of La Llorona, a woman who was driven mad by her husband’s infidelity and drowned her two sons in a river during a fit of insanity. Realizing what she had done, she kills herself and her soul roams the Earth trying to find two children to replace the ones she had lost. In this telling of the tale, we see Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) as a widower whose husband was a police officer that was killed in the line of duty. Anna is a mother of two and is trying to balance the grief from her husband’s death with being a single parent and a social worker.

Anna goes to visit a family she has done casework for over the years and finds Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) unsettled and fearful for her children’s lives. Ignoring Patricia’s warnings of La Llorona, Anna opens a locked closet with symbols drawn all over the doors and finds the children huddled inside. The children are scared and muttering something about a woman coming for them, who Anna and the police assume is Patricia. When the two children end up drowned in a river, with Patricia having a rock-solid alibi, it becomes clear that there is another evil at play. Anna’s two kids, Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) begin to hear a woman sobbing and then see visions of an evil looking woman in a white dress coming for them. This monster grabs both of their arms and leaves burns, marking them as hers. With nowhere else to turn, Anna goes to the church and sees Father Perez (Tony Amendola) who connects her with Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz), a former priest who has left the church and battles evil in his own way. Rafael may be the only hope that Anna and her children have against La Llorona, whose desire to take Anna’s kids from her only intensifies as the movie trudges forward.

The Curse of La Llorona is just another run of the mill horror movie. The one thing that sets it apart is some cool cinematography and camera angles from director Michael Chaves. That aside, it is essentially just 90ish minutes of jump scares. Water plays a prominent role throughout the film – La Llorona drowning her children and herself in a river, the pronounced drip of water when she approaches, and many scenes that take place while it’s raining, in a pool, or during bath time. Water has been used symbolically throughout literature and film, and The Curse of La Llorona is another example of this. While water may be essential for life, the water that La Llorona occupies and surrounds herself with is a reminder of death. The film seems like an afterthought, something that a studio just wanted to throw out there and tell everyone was connected to the Conjuring universe to make some quick dough. Other than a small role by Father Perez and a flashback showing Annabelle, this film has no solid ties to the rest of the Conjuring universe. After four strong films to build the universe, the last two - The Nun and Curse of La Llorona - have fallen well short of expectations. Hopefully this summer’s Annabelle Comes Home rights the ship. La Llorona is an actual urban legend that children are told to keep them behaving well, the story is chilling and had a lot of potential as a Hollywood Horror, unfortunately The Curse of La Llorona didn’t live up to its source material and is an easily forgettable “chapter” in the Conjuring Universe.

Rating: 2 out of 5