This is an advance review published out of the SXSW film festival. The movie opens April 19th.
The Curse of La Llorona is set on the outskirts of the blockbuster Conjuring franchise, which may lend it a mainstream commercial appeal but also a by-now deadened familiarity thanks to the series’ well-worn formula. We’ve seen many of this film’s supernatural scenarios before — in this franchise and in bogeyman/haunting films in general — but in the end The Curse of La Llorona ekes by due to its occasional playfulness and the sympathy engendered by its main family.
After a brief but brutal prologue set in 1673 Mexico — where we see how “The Weeping Woman” of Latin American folklore came to be by drowning her own children in a jealous rage, thus cursing herself to roam forever as a specter searching for other kids to kill — the film resumes in Los Angeles 1973, a period which Conjuring-verse fans will know is not long after the events of the LA-based Annabelle. (A supporting character from that film, Father Perez, pops up here to provide the bare minimum of connective narrative tissue between the films.)