The Curse of La Llorona
Freaks and Geeks fans may rejoice at the prospect of watching Lindsay Weir get chased by a ghost for 90 minutes, but at least under the guidance of Michael Chaves, The Curse of La Llorona isn’t nearly as entertaining as that premise sounds.
Set in 1973 Los Angeles, six years after the events of Annabelle and with Tony Amendola’s Father Perez reappearing to make sure everyone knows this story also takes place in the extended Conjuring universe, Chaves’ punchless feature directorial debut assumes that mere association with the gradually diluted network of Lorraine and Ed Warren (R.I.P.) films is sufficient for its existence rather than actually crafting a competent horror experience.
Written by the same team that just gave us the lousy sick teen romance Five Feet Apart, the film’s already thin Hispanic folklore premise is dragged out by social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini) and her children Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Self/less) having individual encounters with the titular baddie, yet instantly brushing off what seconds earlier was a terrifying experience and continuing to pretend nothing happened.
Despite subpar special effects, The Curse of La Llorona nonetheless delivers creepiness galore though its numerous set-ups, and yet Chaves still joins the ranks of “horror directors” incapable of timing a jump scare, a failure compounded by his apparent ignorance of the existence of musical stings.
Into this dopey situation comes Breaking Bad’s Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), pretending to be an ex-priest and doing the same old exorcist song and dance, albeit with an unintentionally humorous deathly seriousness.
But really, if there’s anything intentional about the making of this movie, it’s not evident in the final product.
Grade: D-plus. Rated R. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande, and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Warner Bros.)