HOLLYWOOD—Delivering a good scare in the multiplex is no easy task to accomplish. With horror, most audiences are in tune with the ins-and-out of the genre; you know what to expect. However, I must say I had a frightful time watching the supernatural horror film, “The Curse of Llorona.” If you have been looking to be scared out of your mind, this flick will do the trick.
So what works so well for this flick which some are comparing to the realm of “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” universe? Simple, the flick is not afraid to make its focal point the innocence of children is being threatened. For years, this was a murky territory in the horror genre, and movies in general: kids are off limits. If anything you can put a child in peril, but the audience doesn’t really want to see bad things transpire.
That has changed slightly with the horror genre in particular with the 2017 remake “It” opening that door, and plenty of other flicks following suit. “The Curse of Llorona” has a plot that is easy to follow and not meaty in terms of substance. Let’s be honest: when was the last time you watched a horror flick that had a narrative that totally blew you out of the water. It’s not a common troupe in the genre to begin with.
This tale follows a family who is threatened by woman in a white dress, known as “La Llorona.” This is a malevolent spirit who haunts children and likes to drown them in water. Enter the Garcia family led by matriarch Anna Tate (Linda Cardellini). Anna portrays a social worker, who fails to acknowledge the initial threats about La Llorona which ultimately places her life and the lives of her children Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) at risk. The chaos starts off small, but amplifies as time progresses as it becomes clear this ghost is not giving up without getting what it wants.
What works so well for this movie is that it is indeed scary. If I go see a horror film, I expected to be scared or jumping out my seat, this flick checks off both of those boxes for me. Are the jump scares heavily relied upon? Yes, but it works for the viewer, because the build up to the scare is well worth the wait in the long run. This is testament to strong camera positioning thanks to director Michael Chaves. Chaves knows where to place the camera and how to utilize mise-en-scène to ensure the scare delivers the punch that it intended to.
“The Curse of Llorona” has steady pacing that never leaves a dull moment for the audience. And that climax, the way that suspense builds is just edge of your seat mayhem. It’s unnerving, it delivers goosebumps and the film’s little stars showcase some fine acting chops. I had a hell of a time watching this movie and it’s been a long time since I watched a horror movie that did exactly what it intended to do: scare me!