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Grown organically out of James Wan’s 2013 film The Conjuring, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s Conjuring Universe has become a major force and box office success during horror's ongoing boom period. The supernatural series has grossed $1.57 billion worldwide and it is still growing. The newest film in the franchise, although it isn’t really being advertised as such, is this weekend’s The Curse of La Llorona.
From future director of The Conjuring 3 Michael Chaves, The Curse of La Llorona dives into Mexican folklore for a tale of a mother trying to protect her children from a deadly spirit. Reviews for the film are up, so is The Curse of La Llorona a worthy entry in The Conjuring Universe? CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell gave it 2 out of 5 stars in his review, lamenting that it didn’t live up its potential or the universe it’s a part of. Sean said:
While La Llorona has a stimulating premise and a creepy spirit who is realized with impressive practical effects, the overall execution is tepid and uninspired, putting this chapter below the level of chills we’ve come to expect from the better Conjuring movies.
Sean found some things to like in The Curse of La Llorona, but ultimately it was a disappointment, especially in light of the potential of its premise. The Chicago Sun Times’ Richard Roeper, who gave The Curse of La Llorona 1.5 stars, echoed Sean’s sentiments in his review, saying:
The Curse of La Llorona is the sixth entry in the Conjuring Universe, but it sucks as a stand-alone film, despite a promising set-up.
This was a common thread in the reviews. The rich folklore of La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, deserved better than the film it got. That disappointment was expressed in Peter Travers’ 1.5 out of 5 star review for Rolling Stone. He addressed how this film arrives at a time when horror is hot at the box office right now, saying:
Still, that’s no excuse for a lazy cash-in like The Curse of La Llorona, which plays too timid for terror and is too lazily constructed to haunt anyone’s dreams.
It isn’t all negative though. While some have dinged The Curse of La Llorona for being far too clichéd and formulaic for anyone who has ever seen a horror movie, the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis found that formula effective. She said in her review:
The scares are plentiful and sometimes ticklishly funny in The Curse of La Llorona, an enjoyably old-fashioned ghost story.
So it sounds like easy to please horror fans will find some scares and some laughs in this film as long as they aren’t expecting much else. The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore was hoping for more though and was somewhat bored by the flick. He said:
Curse of La Llorona is a ho-hum horror flick that seems highly unlikely to join producer James Wan's earlier projects into thriller-franchise Valhalla
That The Curse of La Llorona is part of Jame Wan’s Conjuring Universe should be a stamp of relative quality, but this forced connection may actually be to the film’s detriment. Slashfilm’s Meredith Borders called the film “half-baked and lazy” and said:
So many of La Llorona‘s narrative choices feel made by committee for the crassest possible reasons, forfeiting sensible storytelling in favor of in-jokes, flashbacks and Easter eggs. The Curse of La Llorona fails on the most basic level: it never manages to tell a logical story in a compelling way.
Yikes. Clearly The Curse of La Llorona is not for everyone. But with a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is still not the worst-reviewed film in The Conjuring Universe and certainly not the worst-reviewed horror movie out there. So if you’re a franchise completionist or you just want a fun horror film and aren’t expecting a masterpiece, you could have a good time with The Curse of La Llorona.
The Curse of La Llorona opens this weekend. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies on the way in the rapidly approaching summer movie season.