Subtly linked to The Conjuring universe is this new jump-induced feature from producer James Wan and directed by Michael Chaves based on a Mexican folktale translated as The Weeping Woman.
The Curse of La Llorona may draw some superficial interest from the lore surrounding a victim of an adultery (Maria) who enacts vengeance (by drowning) on her husband and sons. After her sudden demise her spirit remains earthbound until locating her offspring’s souls which has her in a submerging mindset for youngsters.
The City of Angels of the 1970s finds Linda Cardellini’s busy widowed social worker Anna Garcia raising kids Chris (Roman Christou) and Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen). When Anna’s latest case involves an admonishing Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) who locks her sons in a closet from the titular apparition veiled in white wedding gown (Marisol Ramirez) her decision regarding the mother leads to dire circumstances at a reservoir after which that same protective, worried woman becomes the chief suspect.
The intentions of an obsessed otherworldly presence puts Anna, Chris and Samantha in much peril as the confidence in genre filmmaking proves to be rather wavering but not as creepily consuming as being around Ed and Lorraine Warren’s prominent paranormal investigators. Aficionados may be reminded of 2014’s eerie doll movie Annabelle with the appearance of Father Perez (Tony Amendola). More noticeable backup arrives from a former cleric, Rafael, filled with discernment and acerbity by Raymond Cruz.
Yet, in dealing with La Llorna the filmmakers and storytelling dissipate the promise of a gripping ghost story as Cardellini (Green-Book, Daddy’s Home) can only do so much with her harried, initially skeptical mother. A scream or two may be elicited but any kind of deep dive methodology can’t transcend the customary unspectacular tropes leaving a cursed, weepy enterprise.