Posts Tagged ‘The Curse of La Llorona’

Ah, the Conjuring films. They started out strong and had some good ones other than the first film (Annabelle: Creation is still chill-inducing). But it’s been obvious since The Curse of La Llorona that this franchise has been on a downturn. Still, horror fans are nothing if not hopeful that crap will turn out to be good. And it was included with my HBO Max subscription, so why not?

In The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, the Warrens must help an accused murderer clear his name after a demon possesses him following a botched exorcism. Looking into the original exorcism, they start to realize that this is more than just your average possession. This is part of a curse. And if they’re not careful, the curse will not only take the accused murderer, but the Warrens as well.

And before I actually tell you my thoughts on the film, let me just say, this film unsurprisingly plays fast and loose with the history. Also, when I tell a demon to possess me in order to save someone else, they never take me up on it! Even when they’re about to be expelled, they’d rather try to bribe me than go inside me. I mean, is possessing me really that bad?

Anyway, about the actual film: I think Conjuring 3 can best be summed up in that it’s further proof that this franchise needs to end. The plot is pretty formulaic and not that scary. I think the biggest moment of fear I had was watching Arne Johnson, the accused murderer, look into a hole in the wall. Other than that, pretty blah. Maybe if you’re under the age of ten, you’d find it scary, but for veteran horror fans it’s just below-average fare.

If there is one thing to like about this film, it’s that the actors did a great job. They know this is just a sequel in a series that, if this were the 1980s or 1990s, would have gone straight-to-video by this point. But they give it their all and convince you they’re feeling love, fear, inadequacy, etc.

On the whole, however, I’m giving The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It a 1.7 out of 5. There are better horror films out there than this, so only major fans of the franchise should waste their time. The rest should avoid it like the plague.

At least all planned future films in the franchise are still in the development stages. There’s time for Warner Bros. to pull the plug and save themselves, as well as audiences, from a lot of disappointment.

Is that harsh? Maybe. Do I care? Not really.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to enjoy my weekend. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

I’ve known of the legend of La Llorona, aka The Woman in White or The Weeping Woman, for a while before I heard of this film. A woman drowned her children after her lover was unfaithful to her. Horrified by what she’d done, she either dies of grief or commits suicide, her spirit returning to search for errant children in the vain hope of trading them for her own lost darlings. So when I heard the upcoming film about her would be part of The Conjuring universe, I had to wonder, how would they treat the story? Would she be rewritten as a demon? Or would the filmmakers learn some new tricks and add a bit more to The Conjuring universe as more and more people started to find it formulaic and over-reliant on the jumpscares? I went in today to see it myself.

The Curse of La Llorona follows Anna Garcia, a single mom and social worker whose children become the target of the titular spirit after it takes the lives of two children whose mother she previously worked with. With the church’s process to approve exorcisms taking too long, Anna turns to a local faith healer and former priest. But will it be enough to stop a being driven by an unending grief and obsession?

And I’m sorry to say, this film didn’t really do anything for me. Oh yeah, it had some effective jumpscares and moments of atmosphere. There were quite a few moments where I jumped in my seat. There’s a reverence for the source material here, and you can tell they’re really trying to make this tragic ghostly figure intimidating.

Unfortunately, the formula The Conjuring set up has gotten stale almost five years later. We’ve gotten used to someone experiencing a haunting in their home, calling in an expert, and then a final battle where there’s either triumph or someone loses their soul. And predictability, along with jumpscares that we know to look for, just doesn’t do it anymore. And while the film does flirt with the idea of adding something new–La Llorona herself is not a demon, as past antagonists in the series have been, but a ghost whose obsession has turned her into a dark spirit, and there’s a twist during the climax that I was surprised by–but not enough to add new life to the franchise.

As of the writing of this review, The Conjuring universe has the third (and probably final) Annabelle film, Annabelle Comes Home, coming out in June. After that, everything else is in various stages of development (The Conjuring 3 has a release date but so far hasn’t begun filming yet). If Warner Bros and New Line Cinema want this franchise to continue past Annabelle Comes Home, they’ll have to come up with some new tricks to keep audiences coming back (and no, I don’t mean going to space. Sorry Jason X, you’re a lot of fun, but there’s a silliness about you that can’t be denied. At least you’re not the Friday the 13th remake, though. Beyond Jared Padalecki and the guy playing Jason Voorhees, there’s nothing redeemable about that film. Yeah, I took another shot at that film, and I’m glad I did!).

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving The Curse of La Llorona a dismal 2. Has ideas, but needed to buck the formula more in order to be anything other than below average.

But you know what (probably) won’t disappoint? My upcoming fantasy-horror novel Rose, being released later this year by Castrum Press. And at the moment, I’m looking for advanced readers for the book, which follows a young woman as she starts turning into a plant creature (and that’s just the start of her problems). In exchange for an early electronic copy, all I ask is that you read the book and consider posting a review on or after the release date. If you’re interested, please send me an email at ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!