Director: Michael Chaves
Writers: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Stars: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez
Welcome to Redbox Reviews, a new feature where we see if Redbox has anything worth the $2 Blu-ray cost. For the initial pick, I went with Director Michael Chaves’ ‘The Curse of La Llorona’, a 2019 horror film not doing so well over at Rotten Tomatoes.
Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.
This film ties into The Conjuring universe, albeit, very loosely, and further dilutes the effective power of the franchise for me. Director Michael Chaves has a great eye, and provides a couple of creepy, dreadful moments, even a seemingly subtle nod to Sam Raimi with his ominous and interesting camera work. Linda Cardellini is a fantastic actress, but I feel like this was simply an easy paycheck for her. Not to say she performs badly; her performance is spot on as a stressed and widowed social worker thrown into the world of the supernatural. Another strong showing was the detail to set pieces, which elevated the bland script to at least somewhat palatable. Still, I would list this as efficient, but not really ambitious by any means.
I would expect a film that deals with violence against children to make me very uncomfortable, but I never truly felt as if the kids were in real danger even with the permanence occurring in the film’s epilogue.
While I appreciate the dark tone of the film, it ultimately won’t satisfy true horror fans. Multiplex films like this certainly have a place in teen date nights, or for teens gathering for a scary movie marathon – but little else. Jump scares cannot replace true dread, no matter how well-polished. With that said, I did enjoy the film and if you have two bucks and 90 minutes of free time, you might walk away with a C+ rating to give. The writers missed the mark in crafting the ominous folklore the film deserved.
Final score: D+