As kids we are always looking for ways to scare ourselves. Back before internet videos of ghost sightings, and unexplained phenomena, we did it by telling spooky stories that we swore happened to someone we knew. These became our urban legends. The ones you heard depended on where you grew up, for me it was calling a certain number to talk to “The Donkey Lady”, or closing the bathroom door and saying the name “Bloody Mary” three times in front of the mirror. Nowadays the only time I say Bloody Mary three times is when I am trying to order my drink over a loud, crowded brunch. Growing up in South Texas I did hear of “La Llorona”, but for me it was more of a tale and not real like the mean old “Donkey Lady”.
There are plenty of people who for them, La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) was their bogie man. I feel Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) would be like me, a non-believer in the story. Mostly because she has never heard it. That changes when, as a case worker she comes across two kids who she thinks she is rescuing, but is really putting them in danger from something from the unknown. After La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) claims her victims, she sets her eyes on Anna’s two kids and ‘attaches’ herself to each of them. Soon strange things start to happen at their home, and when Anna ends up seeing the weeping widow herself, she seeks the help of the church, who send her to see a man named Rafael (Raymond Cruz), who does things a little different from the church, but seems to get the job done. What it all sets up is a showdown with La Llorona, with the lives of Anna and her two kids on the line.
Based on a chilling story, that parents would use to scare their children, The Curse of La Llorona had the potential to be good. That though was not meant to be, as the story written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis plays it safe and never really releases the scares. I feel that might have been because, as what feels like an effort to add something to the film, La Llorona is thrown into The Conjuring universe in what feels like a random cash grab kind of way. If it is indeed part of that world, it falls in the realm where the first Annabelle and The Nun live in. This though is not about them, but about La Llorona which might leave you weeping as well, but more so because of what could have been instead of what we got. I will say though with the right audience this film might be a lot more watchable. But the paint by numbers aspect leaves little to the imagination which is what at real horror movie relies on to make them truly terrifying. I wanted to enjoy this, so that I could get my “Bloody Mary” movie, but while I didn’t flat out hate it, I also won’t be recommending it, as the stories I heard back in the day were much scarier.