Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Curse of La Llorona – more shocks but less drama than the local council election results (Movie House from Friday 3 May)

If you’re a horror fan and you like a good old jump scare with a flimsy plot and a great score, then The Curse of La Llorona will be a delightful 93 minutes of cinema. While it’ll never be a classic horror movie, it’s well made, has some nice camera work, and doesn’t embarrass the genre.

If however, you like a plot to twist and turn, don’t believe that mumbo jumbo can replace discernible rules of engagement for a monster, and are bored by a woman wearing a wedding dress that is continually being confused with net curtains and table cloths, then beware this latest tenuous addition to the Conjuring ‘universe’.

Shortly after a widowed social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini) removes two brothers from a client’s home, they are found dead and their mother (Patricia Velasquez) seeks revenge in parallel with the 300-year-old Mexican woman La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) who is scouring the city for children. Anna’s family – the son (Roman Christou) is brave and stoic; his younger sister (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) other-worldly – are at risk as the haunting hand of history makes its mark. Raymond Cruz pops up as a former priest turned shaman who specialises in lighting candles and catching tormented souls.

Set in 1973, it’s a time of flared jeans, woollen jumpers and ghostly Scooby Doo cartoons on black and white televisions. However, this attention to detail is quickly overshadowed by flickering lights, sleepwalking children, long corridors and bottles potions. Exploding foodstuffs do liven up some kitchen scenes, and the slow motion shot of a police car’s flashing light gives a nod to the creative talent working on this run-of-the-mill horror.

“We are facing an evil that knows no bounds.” Except, this evil can’t cross an unbroken line of wood-shavings, rather contradicting the flowery dialogue. The wailing strings and blasts of bassy music will make your hair stand on end and your chest tighten. It briefly appears that something powerful will be said about a child’s ability to humanise a tormented spirit, but that moment passes quickly and tedium returns.

The Curse of La Llorona will be waiting for you at Movie House cinemas from Friday 3 May. However, it’ll have less drama, albeit more shocks, than the local government election results that will come out on the day of The Curse’s UK release.

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