Horror films donít scare me anymore. On the strangest of terms, they fascinate. For The Curse of La Llorona, director Michael Chaves ensures there are enough dark spaces, creaking floorboards and possessed wind currents to fool you into a good time. His magic seems delightfully old school because he treasures the one thing this genre cannot do without: the reaction shot. Acting scared, Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz appear on top form, while target screamers Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen and Roman Christou are equally sublime.
Actually, sleepwalking rarely felt thisÖ evocative. Like a Ouija nightmare, the mother whose eyes burn like dragon fire wants something. Thereís tragedy which seeps rather than weeps. Also, itís a given that some solution must be discovered when social worker Anna Tate-Garcia (Cardellini) shows signs of a troubling case. Cue the heebie jeebies.
Indeed, The Curse of La Llorona might find you succumbing to a jump scare or two but youíll soon laugh that off. Actually, Iím sure screenwriters Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis have that very intention. As such, Cruz ably fills the demands for comic relief, his straight face keeping the tone in check.
While originality falls outside the filmmakerís grasp -- parallel associations with The Conjuring notwithstanding -- The Curse of La Llorona shows enough gooey potential to satisfy the most demanding patron. (Capsule review)
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated "R" by MPAA.)
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