Was It Just a Lazy Cash-In for The Conjuring Universe?
This review contains spoilers for The Curse of La Llorona
The Curse of La Llorona was released in theaters April 19, 2019. This was the first film directed by Michael Chavez, who will direct The Conjuring 3 in the future. La Llorona, the weeping woman, has been a spine chilling folktale passed down by many, a tale to scare off children to do their laundry or go to bed or else “La Llorona will come for them” — harmless right?
The film unfolds in the 1970s in Los Angeles with Anna (Linda Cardellini), who plays a widow with two kids who works in social services. She begins to investigate the special case of her former friend Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) and finds her two sons in a locked closet that was covered in strange symbols. The children are turned over to foster care, but followed by La Llorona and drowned in a creek. Filled with grief and anger, Patricia wants vengeance, and blaming Anna for the death of her children, summons for Anna’s children to be taken instead of her sons. Anna then notices strange occurrences surrounding her family and goes to the church for help. There, she is redirected to an ex-priest Rafael (Raymond Cruz) who left the church because he felt they were not doing enough to help people struggling with supernatural phenomena.
The Conjuring universe is known for stories like these. A tortured ghost stuck in between and life and death roaming the earth seeking young children, and a mother turning monstrous to protect her family. It seems to be a tacky horror movie meant to collect some extra cash ($26.5 million).
During an interview with the cast, Chaves was asked if this film was meant to fit the form of a Conjuring movie. Chaves said, “it was always written with Father Perez.” Perez, played by Tony Amendola also starred in Annabelle, another Conjuring movie.
“There was a lot of discussion of whether it should be marketed as a Conjuring film or should there be that fun surprise that people discover, and I love the way it plays out, I think that we tipped the hand by seeing Father Perez in the trailers, but I think everyone was on the fence and some people think he died in Annabelle which he did not,” said Chaves. Later, Chaves added that previous and future reviews have possibly already spoiled the surprise.
During filming, the cast and crew reported witnessing paranormal activity on set. During the film’s debut at the Southwest Film Festival on March 15, Chaves brought in a faith healer to bless the audience from paranormal activity before the film.