By Johnathan Stowe
From James Wan, producer of The Conjuring films, comes The Curse Of La Llorona, a Spanish folklore that was presented on multiple television shows with different interpretations of the woman that haunted my childhood.
They are exactly two things that went through my mind as I sat in the movie theatre with my Llorona poster in one hand and my popcorn and drink in my other hand. First, I wondered how this movie relates to The Conjuring universe that James Wan created? Also, where did this movie even come from? If you are a fan of The Conjuring franchise like I am, you were likely expecting movies like Annabelle 3, The Conjuring 3 and The Crooked Man. Yet The Curse of La Llorona just swam right out of the water and caught us off guard.
The Curse of La Llorona takes place in Los Angeles in 1973 where Anna, a widowed mother and social worker, ignores the warnings of her client Patricia. In doing so, she not only puts Patricia’s kids in the path of La Llorona’s wrath but her own two kids as well. In the film, La Llorona seems like a videogame character that cannot be defeated. Once she marks you with a burn mark, she will continue to come after your kids until she has taken them. No exorcisms or any ritual will work to stop her, as she is that powerful. (Sorry, Warrens!) We get a glimpse of how the movie is related in The Conjuring universe as Father Perez–who was in the first Annabelle movie–explains to Anna that he once dealt with a certain evil he cannot describe. (Roll the Annabelle clip.) Father Perez introduces Anna to a former Priest who has turned his back on the church, played by Raymond Cruz. With his help, they battle La Llorona and try to stop her curse from spreading any further.
You can tell that there are a lot of messages that the movie wants get across here. For instance, the film looks at the idea of faith when Anna questions the former priest on why he has turned back on the church and God. He responds by saying that his methods are better than the church, however “I did lose faith, I turned my back on the church but I did not turn my back on God”. This idea is important because, after losing her husband, Anna stopped continuing going to church and cut her faith with God entirely.
Another message here stems from the folklore of La Llorona which states that the ghost will hunt troublesome children so that they would have to respect their elders and be honest. Basically, the legend demands that kids try to be good children. We see here in this movie that, even though Anna’s children are good kids, they hide things from her and even lie on occasion. When Anna asks how they got their burns, the kids say that they fell. When Anna tells her son to watch his sister as she investigates the murder of Patricia kids, her son runs off and gets touched by La Llorona. There is a possibility here that, if the kids were upfront with their mother about the fact that an evil spirit was after them, it’s possible that this could have all been avoided.
Overall, this is a really fun horror movie to go and watch. Is it as great as The Conjuring, Annabelle: Creation and The Conjuring 2? No, but its better then Annabelle and The Nun to me. In this film, you really feel what the characters are feeling, and we got some good plot twists that really change the tides of the movie. The Curse of La Llorona is not the movie that we asked for, but it was a good way to get some scares in for the next set of Conjuring universe movies.
The Curse of La Llorona is haunting theatres now.