By JW McNay/editor-in-chief
It’s said that if you hear the sound of La Llorona crying at night, then you should run the other way. But, “The Curse of La Llorona” does enough to keep you in your seat and will maybe even give you a new reason to be scared at night.
The movie borrows from the legend of La Llorona, which comes from Mexican folklore. A woman drowns her sons in a river after finding out her husband is leaving their family for a younger woman.
She realizes what she has done and returns to the river unable to find them and is found dead there later. In death, she roams the earth searching for her children at night, mistaking others for her own and kidnaps and drowns them.
This is a story that’s still often shared today with children to scare them from wandering off on their own at night. Although, it’s only familiar mostly to Latin American countries.
First off, it’s great to see myths and legends from other cultures being brought to a wider audience.
However, the film doesn’t do much to modify this established backstory. It offers very little in the way of mystery but still does provide a terrifying, malevolent force hellbent on finding “her children.”
Anna, played by Linda Cardellini, is a social worker who struggles to balance her work and raising her children on her own because of her husband’s death.
If you see where this is going, you’re right.
La Llorona sets her sights on Anna’s children. Scary scenarios are aplenty while the evil spirit stalks her prey, which are accompanied by terrifying visuals.
Whenever La Llorona is on the screen, it’s genuinely unsettling and avoids the mistakes of other horror films, which is becoming too laughable at times.
On par with the genre, loud and sudden sounds are used to jolt the viewer and rattle their senses. Needless jump scares are avoided, and the movie does a good job training the viewer early on to be ready for anything, at any time.
Not an uncommon tactic, scenes remain eerily quiet as creepy sounds fill the environment. It’s uncertain if the experience will translate well for home viewing as those speakers are unlikely to be jacked up to the volume of a theater’s speakers.
The buildup is done well throughout, but these situations also make up the bulk of the runtime.
Even though it’s only 93 minutes long, the pacing starts to drag after La Llorona scares the poor family for what feels like the umpteenth time. It’s almost like the supernatural being is taking her time as a favor to the filmmakers so it doesn’t end too soon.
The plot doesn’t have any major twists and is mostly a predictable narrative with solid scares. Unless you have an aversion to horror films, “The Curse of La Llorona” is definitely worth checking out.
Hopefully, you won’t leave the theater in tears.