The Legend of La Llorona – Film review

It is a centuries-old Mexican folk tale told by generations of parents to scare the bejesus of their niños with the reputed purpose of keeping them safe: wander too far from home, the little ones, and the spectral apparition of La Llorona – “The Crying Woman” – will tear you away as she wanders along the water’s edge, vainly seeking his death for a long time children. There are a myriad of versions of this ghost story, the best known being the Medea-like filicide committed by a beautiful woman named Maria, who in revenge drowns her two children in a river after spying on her wealthy husband with another woman, then commits suicide. Among other things (including novels, plays, songs, TV shows), the legend has inspired a plethora of mostly mediocre Mexican supernatural horror films over the past 60 years (and an animated sanitized), as well as poorly received but financially successful films. Americans face the monstrous in 2019 madre, The curse of La Llorona, the sixth film of the Conjuring franchise. And now there’s yet another cinematic narrative, this time called The Legend of La Llorona, presumably made in the spirit (pun intended) of trying to better live up to this legendary piece of Mexican lore. This umpteenth time is not a charm.

Here, the oft-told story is framed in the current context of an American family vacationing somewhere in distant Mexico, shortly after the death of a toddler girl. Grieving parents Carly (a strangely unfriendly Reeser) and Andrew Candlewood (hot daddy Cupo) bring their young son Danny (Madrazo) with the trip, much to the dismay of the housekeeper of the rented hacienda (a touching Lara). ), who crosses herself nervously whenever something scares her. Apparently mom and dad failed to read the part of the travel brochure noting the mysterious disappearances of many children in the area, and before long the otherworldly Llorona, looking a bit like Lily Munster on a bad day and moaning. like a banshee, begins tormenting the family and eventually kidnapping Danny, his panicked parents chasing them with the help of a local cab driver (Trejo, who only looks comfortable when he pulls a hunting rifle).

Cameron Larsen and Jose Prendes’ story and screenplay, respectively, take great liberty with the caption for the purpose of a last-minute reveal that’s more of a yawn than anything else. But even if the disclosure had worked, the film offers little genuine horror (fear of jumping doesn’t count) and its suspense is negligible, though some spooky imagery, such as dismembered burnt doll arms, can momentarily put you on hold. under the skin. There is also something slightly offensive about the film’s willingness to sacrifice the Indigenous characters to help the Candlewoods save their child. But when the script Rambo-izes her bodily mother briefly, get ready to laugh at what could be the 2021 film’s dawning absurd moment. After grabbing a kitchen knife and shovel to embark on a mission to save her kidnapped son, the frantic Carly inexplicably stops before exiting the house to utter a howl about nothing stopping The Legend of La Llorona deadlier than its titular ethereal howler: “I’m coming baby, mommy is coming.” The absence of any discernible exclamation mark in this recitation says it all.

Available on VOD January 11.

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