A new chapter in The Conjuring cinematic universe conjures up an enjoyable enough horror – but originality is sadly in short supply.
Most cultures come with spooky legends and cautionary tales about things that go bump in the night.
For example, generations of Mexican children have grown up afraid of La Llorona or ‘The Weeping Woman’. Legend has it that during the 17th Century, a jealous wife drowned her two children to punish her cheating husband. From beyond the grave it is said that La Llorona roams around in search of other people’s children that she can drown in order to claim them as her own.
In seventies Los Angeles we see Anna (Avengers: Endgame’s Linda Cardellini), a widowed social worker who works tirelessly to help children in need. Anna’s job puts her on the path of Patricia (Patricia Velasquez), a troubled mother who believes that La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) is after her children.
She was right and it doesn’t end well for them.
It turns out that Anna also has two children (Sam and Chris, played by Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen and Roman Christou) around the same age as Patricia’s – which is why the mourning mother thinks that there could be a chance of getting her own children back if she points the ghost towards Anna’s offspring.
The Curse Of La Llorona has been marketed as being part of The Conjuring cinematic franchise. But if you expect that to feature heavily, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. There is a brief nod to the universe and that is about it – which makes me question whether The Conjuring name was thrown in last minute to help sell tickets.
My biggest frustration was that every jump scare was borrowed from other horror films – which proves to be its biggest curse.
But despite the lack of originality, it still provides a competent horror yarn.
There may not be anything here we haven’t seen – but you could argue that if it’s not broken why fix it?
And this does exactly what is expected – nothing more, nothing less.
ESP Rating: 3/5
CAST: LINDA CARDELLINI, PATRICIA VELASQUEZ, RAYMOND CRUZ, TONY AMENDOLA, JAYNEE-LYNNE KINCHEN, ROMAN CHRISTOU & JOHN MARSHALL JONES
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 33 MINS
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL CHAVES
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