The Curse of La Llorona Cares about Story, Characters & That Depth of Emotional Investment Pays Dividends (Review)

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This week I saw The Curse of La Llorona.  There wasn’t a lot of hype over this one; the trailers played for a few weeks beforehand and then here it is, sandwiched in the week between Hellboy and that new Avengers movie.  I wasn’t that excited and it looked like nobody else was, either. The theatre was not very full. That says more about the promotion of The Curse of La Llorona than the quality of the film.

Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.

The Curse of La Llorona is a lesson in the horror genre.  It’s not enough for a film to be scary (looking at you, Slenderman), the point of a good horror film is the relief we get at the end.  Whether it’s because the heroes triumph (or just gets away) or because the last victim dies, there is a catharsis that has to happen. La Llorona nails it.  It’s also has one of the lowest body counts I’ve seen in a while. I also appreciate that the characters were able to actually fight against The Evil. It’s more exciting and more satisfying that way.  Far too many films are just a grim slaughterfest with the characters failing to protect themselves and the credits rolling when the last one dies. La Llorona cares about its story, its characters and that depth of emotional investment pays dividends.

There was a weird racial tone in The Curse of La Llorona that I found it interesting.  This weeping woman, La Llorona, (literally Spanish for The Weeping Woman) has been killing children for hundreds of years but it wasn’t until it went after a white woman’s children that they could do anything about it?  Maybe I’m being oversensitive to this kind of thing after the Alberta Election, but if it was noticeable to me, I guarantee you it was noticeable to others. I should point out how effortlessly this film passes the Bechdel Test, though, so I guess you win some, you lose some.

So is The Curse of La Llorona worth watching?  Yes, I’d say so. If you’re a parent, you’ll find this especially scary though obviously the filmmakers were counting on this, judging from the poster.  From a technical standpoint (to my untrained eye) it was pretty adept. It was perfectly paced and an excellent length. There was an incredibly well-orchestrated long shot in the first 10 minutes….but yes, if you’re a horror fan, this is a solid example.  It just could have benefited from better timing.

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