Why Horror Movies Like The Curse Of La Llorona Can Be Exhausting To Film

Linda Cardellini in The Curse Of La Llorona

Horror films may not have insane stunts like people jumping across rooftops or the intense fight choreography you might find in many blockbuster action movies, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a breeze to make. On the contrary, horror films like this weekend’s Conjuring Universe title The Curse of La Llorona can be downright exhausting to film. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell at SXSW, The Curse of La Llorona’s star Linda Cardellini explained why making it was so tiring:

Absolutely. And you’re shooting at night quite a bit too, so your hours are shifted as well. So it’s like full mental workout and full physical workout everyday. Which I didn’t know, I’d never really done a film like this before so I had no idea going in that I would be that kind of exhausted.

Linda Cardellini brings up a great point about shooting at night. Long days of filming often require actors and crew to arrive when it’s still dark out and leave long after the sun has set, but horror movies like The Curse of La Llorona need to actually film certain scenes in the dark. The need to shoot those outdoor night scenes shifts around the working hours and messes with your sleep schedule, making them an exhausting part of horror films.

There is also the fact that horror films often require intense performances out of actors who are playing characters that are in fear for their lives. That’s an emotionally draining experience. Not to mention that screaming and running from supernatural threats takes a lot out of them. And by the time they're done, actors can end up completely exhausted.

The Curse of La Llorona was Linda Cardellini’s first film like this too; the Scooby-Doo movies aren't quite the same kind of horror experience. So even as a veteran actress with tons of film and TV credits to her name, she was still unprepared for the level of exhaustion that was in store for her making this Conjuring Universe movie.

The cast didn’t really get to ease into things either by saving the more intense and exhausting scenes for later in the shoot. As The Curse of La Llorona’s director Michael Chaves told CinemaBlend:

I was kind of talking about how this, because I come from commercials beforehand and how so much of that it’s the difference of a sprint to making a movie is a marathon. But it’s funny because in reality thinking about our schedules and each day that we had, each day was a sprint. Each day we had so many big set pieces and crazy things, it was always at a fever pitch.

The Curse of La Llorona is Michael Chaves’ first feature film. And although he might have expected a more measured pace, what he wound up with was a breakneck one. It sounds like there were no easy days with everyday involving some challenge that resulted in an exhausting filming experience. Fortunately, Michael Chaves was prepared for this kind of sprint because of his previous work commercial work.

You can check out Sean O'Connell discussing the filming experience with the cast and director of The Curse of La Llorona below.

The Curse of La Llorona, which looks terrifying, tells the story of an apparition, the Weeping Woman, stalking the children of 1973 Los Angeles. Linda Cardellini's social worker and her kids are drawn into the supernatural realm and must try and escape the wrath of this evil spirit. This is the sixth film in the Conjuring Universe and is the first feature film for Michael Chaves who will follow La Llorona up with The Conjuring 3.

The Curse of La Llorona opens in theaters this Friday, April 19. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies you need to see as we approach the jam-packed summer movie season.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.