Hispanic Horror From The Conjuring Producers

The Curse of La Llorona takes terrifying inspiration from Mexican folklore for its macabre horror. Starring Linda Cardellini as a widowed mother of two, she battles a deadly apparition with its sights firmly set on taking her children.

Known as the Weeping Woman in Hispanic culture, La Llorona is a ghostly mother that drowned her two sons after her husband abandoned the family. La Llorona brings misfortune and death whenever she appears.

Produced by horror maestro James Wan of The Conjuring and other horror hits, director Michael Chaves mimics many of the supernatural beats common to the Conjuring franchise. Expect the usual jump scares and spooky imagery seen before in The Conjuring and Annabelle. A brief mention of the Annabelle doll is the only actual Conjuring bait included. Veteran character actor Tony Amendola reprises his role as the priest from Annabelle as the movie’s only true Conjuring connection.

The Curse of La Llorona is a standalone horror movie from Hollywood pointedly made with Latino audiences in mind. While not completely disposable and generic due to the small cultural touches that shape the plot, this is derivative storytelling that takes cues from any number of prior ghost and exorcism films.

…offers predictable frights and timid scares for veteran horror movie fans

Curiously set in the 1970s for no real effect, The Curse of La Llorona offers predictable frights and timid scares for veteran horror movie fans. Besides headliner Linda Cardellini, the cast also includes Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, and Marisol Ramirez.

Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) is a social worker still coping with the loss of her husband when she comes across a strange case of child endangerment. The case had a troubled mother locking up her abused children in a closet with unexplained scars, claiming she was protecting them from a deadly presence.

Anna’s two young children, Chris and Samantha, are soon placed in supernatural danger when the ghostly La Llorona crosses their path. After a series of frightening encounters with La Llorona that threatens her family’s lives, Anna goes to a local priest looking for answers. Advised there is too much red tape getting approval for an exorcism, she’s advised to seek out Rafael (Raymond Cruz), a former priest now turned curandero. He may be her family’s only hope against the deadly specter.

Maybe The Curse of La Llorona will have more resonance and meaning for Hispanic audiences. The movie was clearly made with them in mind but the execution largely falls flat. Its slick Hollywood visuals, and generic themes of a skeptical mother battling demonic forces to save her children, are nothing new. Cardellini is somewhat forgettable as Anna and La Llorona herself isn’t anywhere as scary as the Nun from the Conjuring films.

Video

Relatively low in budget for a Hollywood production, The Curse of La Llorona was filmed with a variation of the RED digital camera and finished to a digital intermediate by FotoKem Laboratory in Burbank. Largely taking place at night and in dim interiors with a moody period aesthetic, the video quality generally has strong definition and extended tonal range.

Shapes blend and melt into the shadows with ease, thanks to inky black levels. VFX shots are a tad soft albeit texture and detail always remain high. This isn’t eye-popping HD material but looks serviceable for modern Hollywood horror.

WB smoothly handles the technical parameters converting the digital intermediate to 1080P video. The 93-minute main feature is presented at its 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Encoded in AVC, compression artifacts are mostly avoided. Some unavoidable ISO noise is present in a few darker scenes.

Audio

Making up for the mostly predictable scares, the movie’s English Dolby Atmos soundtrack almost has to pick up the slack in frightening viewers and often succeeds. Not quite on par with the absolute best Atmos mixes, The Curse of La Llorona’s audio still has to do much of the heavy lifting in generating tension and suspense.

This is an effective surround mix with a cacophony of discrete action and high-impact moments. From subtle whispers to gentle atmospheric sounds that envelope the listener, the Atmos soundtrack engages all around the soundstage with immersive effects. Objects hurl across the front and rear speakers with precision. There are several worthy LFE passages that will wake the dead.

Optional English SDH, French, Portuguese, and Spanish (Latino) subtitles play in a white font, always inside the 2.40:1 widescreen frame. Secondary soundtracks include English, French, Portuguese and Spanish audio in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Extras

WB issues a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo set with a glossy slipcover available. The movie has not been announced for UHD.

The Movies Anywhere digital copy redeems in HDX quality on VUDU and other MA providers.

The Myth of La Llorona (02:29 in HD) – A brief featurette introducing the legend of La Llorona. Hispanic cast members discuss hearing about the legend growing up.

Behind The Curse (09:43 in HD) – A decent mix of behind-the-scenes footage and crew/cast interviews comprise this well-rounded look at the movie. It does repeat some of the same material seen in the first featurette.

The Making of a Movie Monster (05:53 in HD) – The process behind La Llorona’s physical make-up is detailed, showing the transformation for the actress.

Deleted Scenes (11:10 in HD) – Seven completed deleted scenes are included, including a slightly different ending.

Storyboards (17:32 in HD) – Scenes from the movie play as the original storyboards for them are window-boxed into the picture.

Trailers (All in HD) – Godzilla: King of The Monsters (02:23), Annabelle Comes Home (02:33), IT Chapter 2 (03:05)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Curse of La Llorona
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Made with Hispanic audiences in mind, the supernatural thriller offers predictable story beats and generic scares.

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