The Conjuring Universe began in 2013 and hasn’t slowed down since. The universe has grown to include Annabelle, The Nun, and now The Curse of La Llorona. The universe while it does include male characters is powered by its female-driven narrative. Bethsheba, Annabelle, Valak, and La Llorona make up the female demons; while Lorraine Warren, Sister Charlotte, and Anna Garcia make up the female leads in these films. We also cannot forget the children that make up these films, the child acting in these films has been beyond exceptional.
La Llorona has its faults and has been receiving plenty of criticism for being “whitewashed”, but after watching the film I fully understand the choices were made. Although, I would have preferred a different route. The film itself is just like the other Conjuring films which is why their target audience responds to these films so well. They have a formula that they follow, and it works every time.
The Curse of La Llorona is based on a cautionary Mexican folktale. The story is about a beautiful woman that falls in love and marries a man. They have two children and love them both. One day, she sees the man in the arms of another woman. She loses her mind, then out of anger and jealousy she drowns her children to death. Upon realizing what she has done, consumed with guilt, she throws herself in the river and kills herself. The story goes that when children misbehave or disrespect their elders, La Llorona will take them, drown them, and keep them forever. Of course, this isn’t the full tale, and I’m sure my version is a bit Americanized, but that’s the gist of the tale.
Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the film follows Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) and her children Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha Garcia (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen). Anna is a CPS Case Worker and her husband has recently passed. Now, she’s a widowed mother trying to make ends meet and take care of her family. Things seemingly are going great until one of her cases goes completely wrong. Anna’s family begins getting stalked by La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) due to a curse, and all hell breaks loose in the Garcia household. She then turns to the Catholic church and Father Perez (Tony Amendola), who appeared in Annabelle. The church can’t help her, so she must get in touch with a Shaman, Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz) to help her with her problem. The family and Olvera team up to defeat the Weeping Lady and rid the family of her curse.
As I said, the films in the Conjuring Universe follow a formula. The formula was created by producer James Wan in the first film. The formula is exactly how a haunting by a demon is described. The demon stalks the family, wears it down, then takes whatever it is coming for. They always contact the church, then turn to someone outside of the church for help. They stick to this formula and it works. The directors, screenwriters, and producers are all on board together and that’s what makes these films special. They have a niche in the horror category and have gathered an audience that is in love with each franchise within the universe.
Director Michael Chaves, who is also directing The Conjuring 3, did an amazing job with this film. He had a vision to bring a story from his childhood to the big screen and it worked. He got everything he could out of his cast and it meshes together well. The only problem I had with this film was the screenplay and some of the editing. There were a few plot holes, and the film was a bit jumpy with the editing. The cinematography by Michael Burgess was well done, especially the scenes leading up to when you see La Llorona.
The acting was amazing as well for the most part, the child actors were great. Christou and Kinchen deliver in every aspect as terrified children in the film, along with Oliver Alexander and Aiden Lewandowski who played brothers Carlos and Tomas. The supporting cast works this film well. Sean Patrick Thomas (Detective Cooper), Patricia Velasquez (Patricia Alvarez) are also apart of the supporting cast.
Overall, this is another good installment into the Conjuring Universe. The film is fun, has some terrifying moments, and it feeds its niche audience. The film had a good weekend over a really bad Easter weekend for the movie theaters. There’s a lot more coming within the universe and I’m here for it. The 70s vibes keep coming, and it’s a great thing. If you’ve seen the movie I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. – Rascal F. Kennedy
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Starring Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen The Curse Of La Llorona is in theaters now!