Welcome to the final movie in my a Hispanic Heritage week: an American film where a white family is menaced by the spooky Mexican ghost lady. I just had to know what a film like this would do with the story of La Llorona and it turns out that it pretty much just turns her into a super murder ghost. Another movie where the ghost has no defined powers and can just do whatever the scene needs.
Anna, a social worker, follows up on a case where a couple kids haven’t been going to school and finds them locked up in a closet. Whoops, turns out the mom was trying to protect her kids from La Llorona, which was targeting her kids because *waves hand*. Now the spooky ghost is after her kids and she has no idea who to turn to but a priest she met on the street once that was also in an Annabelle movie. When the church can’t help her, her last resort is to turn to an ex-priest now-shaman that may or may not actually be able to save her children.
Up until the point where Rafael, the shaman, shows up; this movie is a very by-the-numbers jump scare type of horror movie with fairly well telegraphed points where La Llorona jumps out. The back half of the movie, though, has a much better flow and feeling of tense uncertainty that comes from there being at least some kind of action that the characters can take aside from running and screaming. Even then, most of the scares are still just going to be LOUD NOISES from the ghost that really does way more screaming than crying for ostensibly being The Crying Woman.
Most of the questions I have about this film stem from Patricia, the mother that was originally trying to save her children and then, like, sics La Llorona on Anna as if the ghost is some kind of child murdering attack dog. Why was La Llorona after her children to begin with? Why didn’t she go to anyone when the ghost started showing up? Can anyone pray to La Llorona to get her to murder kids or is it just under certain circumstances? There is a lot of background lore that I would have liked given the apparently fickle nature of this spirit to just go after whoever without any initial cause.
On a bright note, Anna is played by Linda Cardellini and I will literally watch her in anything. And It’s not that this movie is bad, per se, it just suffers from some modern horror problems of relying overly on shock jumps and less on establishing a scary environment.
Rating: 3 out of 5