Review: The Curse of la Llorona (15)

Film editor Joe Holloran talks of his disappointment with Wan's recent horror The Curse of la Llorona

Joe Holloran
27th May 2019
Oh Wan, oh Wan, oh Wan. What happened bro? You used to be the horror prodigy, the successor to the old masters. Now it seems your all out of ideas and have become something of a parody of yourself. With little expectations left after his most recent efforts, I sat down to watch (endure) the latest piece of paranormal emptiness by the once promising James Wan, a piece predictably titled The Cure of la Llorona.
Director Michael Chaves. Image:Wikimedia

Before I get into just how much The Curse of la Llorona disappointed me I need to take you guys back to 2004. This young horror-fan had gobbled up every classic film he could find and now looked for fresh blood. Unfortunately, horror in the early 2000’s was a scary place. Not scary AHH!!, more scarily bad. Trash like the Hostel series dominated the scene. It was all about torture, blood and boobs. Then came Saw (2004). Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘What, Saw, you mean that crappy torture-porn shit with like ten sequels?’. Well, yes and no. You’re right, the sequels suck. Bigtime. But let’s not throw the key out with the bathwater (a little Saw joke there) and take a minute to remember just how clever and un-modern-horrory the original Saw was. It featured little gore. Was smartly written. Had a moral message not often found in horrors anymore and was well acted. In short it was everything everything else wasn’t, and James Wan became a hero of modern horror.

The Curse of la Llorona is a perfect example of just how lazy modern horror-cinema has gotten.

For a while things were going well. Insidious (2010) showed us that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder when I brought supernatural horror into the 21st century. Then something bad happened. A little film called Paranormal Activity (2009) hit the screen and people lost their shit. Sensing the change in mood Wan began to produce a cycle of movies from his ‘Atomic Monster’ production house that hasn’t stopped since. The latest ‘product’ and it is that, to emerge from that nightmare factory is the completely forgettable and frankly annoyingly predictable The Cure of La Llorona. Although it was written by the duo Daughtry & Iaconis and directed by Michael Bay favourite Michael Chaves, make no mistake this is a James Wan film through and through.

James Wan - one of the most prolific mondern horror directors. Image:IMDB

Where to begin. First off let’s remember that this is the sixth instalment in the so-called ‘Conjuring Universe’ which began back in 2013 and has, over the course of five previous movies, managed to show Not.A.Damn.Thing. I’m usually very cautious about not revealing too much of the plot when reviewing a film, but in this case it doesn’t matter. If you have seen one ‘Conjuring’ film, you have seen them all. Basically, the story fallows a young mother and social worker called Anna (Linda Cardellini) as she investigates the neglect and abuse of two young children, Carlos and Tomas at the hands of their mother (Patricia Velasquez). But something else is following the children and now Anna must face off against the yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea. In fairness to Cardellini her performance is perhaps the best thing about this train wreck of a film. Velasquez is also too good for a film like this and the score by Joseph Bishara is better than his previous efforts. But still, the plot is paper-thin and anyone who has seen any of the gluttony of other Paranormal horror film of late will know how it works by now. Dark room, building noise, jump scare.

Please don't go and watch this dreck because if you do then you are contributing to the continual decline of one of cinemas most important genres.

The Curse of la Llorona is a perfect example of just how lazy modern horror-cinema has gotten. If they’re not remaking the old classics, their repeating the same jump-scare formula over and over. The sad part is that this film, like its five brothers, will be a commercial success and they will make another one. And another. It’s not a technically badly made film, the acting is average and, if it existed in isolation it may have made for a more interesting watch. But it just feels like we have reached a tipping point now where the same is just not good enough anymore.

Twice in the last fifteen-years with Saw and then with Insidious Wan revitalised the horror genre. Now that it seems he is content to sit back, not even try anymore and watch the money role in the onus falls to the audience. Expect more from horror-cinema, there are plenty of great recent indie horror flicks out there to enjoy, please don’t go and watch this dreck because if you do then you are contributing to the continual decline of one of cinemas most important genres.

Rating: 2/5

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