An extremely creepy and popular tale among the Hispanic communities has now made its way to the Hollywood big screen. The legend of La Llorona or “The Weeping Woman” is a prominent Mexican and Latin American folklore that has terrified generations of Hispanic children in order to keep them in line.
However, director Michael Chaves butchered it with “The Curse of La Llorona,” as it could have been better developed with more effective flashbacks, backstories and Spanish speaking actors.Of course, Hollywood wanted to make a quick buck and “The Curse of La Llorona” was truly a missed opportunity.
A Latin centric story with a white lead? This could have been a great moment to cast a Hispanic/Latinx lead and filmed it in the beautiful country of Mexico where the folktale originated from. Linda Cardellini (Anna) overall gave a respectable performance, but she had her fame with “Avengers”, “Freaks and Geeks”, and “Scooby-Doo” — the role could have been passed along to someone else who would do the job justice.
“The Curse of La Llorona” is everything you would expect out of a horror movie, but nothing you’d hope for. The film felt as if it was created around those cliche scary moments instead of the characters and plot — nothing the audience can truly latch on to.
As the film progresses, it just follows the same, predictable formula as every mainstream horror movie out there — creaking doors, possessed kids, vengeful spirits, religious cult and the cheap jump scares — been there, done that, a few hundred times. The direction of this film in Chaves’ hands loses originality and becomes a purely commercial product without a soul. It’s unfortuante to those who paid full price to see this overly cliche horror film — save yourself the money, and go on half-off discount Tuesday.
Besides from the generic plot, there were a couple of times when the imagery was surprising, but it wasn’t an abundance of great imagery as it did become really predictable as the film moves along. Although Raymond Cruz (Rafael) did bring a little joy to the last act with his humor, the kids also gave a good performance, great acting from both Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen (Samantha) and Roman Christou (Chris).
Unfortunately, the film played it way too safe and missed the chance to make it into something great like “Get Out” and “A Quiet Place” — something more authentic and symbolic. A more acceptable director for this film could have been Guillermo Del Toro — the man has a good eye when it comes to folklore and horror. Let’s just hope a future Mexican/Latinx director does it justice in the future.