La Llorona. The Weeping Woman. A horrifying apparition, caught between Heaven and Hell, trapped in a terrible fate sealed by her own hand. One of the longest-standing legends in American folklore, the tale of La Llorona, gets its own horror film from the producers of the growing Conjuring universe. In life, she drowned her children in a jealous rage, throwing herself into a river after them as she wept in pain. Now in spirit, those who hear her weep in the night are doomed. In 1970s Los Angeles, La Llorona is stalking the night—and the children. 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. Their only hope to survive La Llorona’s deadly wrath may be a disillusioned priest and the fringe mysticism he practices. This bride definitely goes bump in the night. But the film may be a little more boo and a little less brilliance.
As a collective we tend to be quiet harsh on horror films. Not all can be game changing genre films like Us (2019) and The Conjuring (2014), therefore we sadly degrade other horror films to subpar… should they not be as new or inventive. Horror films can be middle of the road and easy to watch while still being frightful, intriguing and overall fun. The recent Halloween (2018) sequel is a perfect example. The Curse of the Weeping Woman is one such film, easily the best of the Conjuring universe’s spin offs thus far. It’s a respectful horror spin off that won’t define the genre, but will entertain for its 90 minutes with a couple of jump scares, an interesting enough plot, good acting and truly impressive cinematography. When compared to the last horrifically bad spin off The Nun (2018), this is leaps and bounds ahead.
Director Michael Chaves has crafted an efficient enough horror without resorting to bloodlet or too many jump scares. Although the he interesting and frightening character design of La Llorona herself is effective, she is a little two dimensional in an emotional sense. The pace is gradual enough to keep audiences enthralled. A surprising highlight for such a supernatural horror film is that there are some shots that are simply beautiful — Chaves should be commended for this. The film isn’t overly scary and there is some gaping missed opportunities. When an audience is two steps ahead of the drama, there has to be at least good performances (Linda Cardellini and Patricia Velasquez are standouts) and pleasing aesthetics… and it’s in this respect that The Curse of the Weeping Woman is successful.
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