The Curse Of La Llorona [2019] ★★½

Writer/Director/Producer James Wan has provided the raw material for many successful horror movies over the past few years (“Saw”, “Insidious”, “The Conjuring”), and needless to say, he has done a great job at revamping a genre that was slowly suffocating. Even when he wasn’t calling the shots (see “Lights Out”), you could still feel his touch in every spine-tingling sequence. Wan doesn’t direct “The Curse of La Llorona” either, but he gave Michael Chavez the go-ahead to bring the legend of La Llorona to life, the Mexican woman who drowned her children and vowed to curse anyone who approached her. And the curse reaches a family in 1970’s Los Angeles, when a social worker (Linda Cardellini) and her two children find themselves haunted by the ghost of La Llorona. And she does a fine job at raising hell. The film doesn’t dig deep into the legend itself (and that’s a shame), but Chavez knows exactly how to make things go bump in the night, especially in the final third when it matters the most. And Cardellini makes a sympathetic character out of a mother who would stop at nothing to protect her children. Is the final result as memorable as “The Conjuring” films? I wouldn’t say so. But La Llorona will still find a way to follow you home and into your nightmares.

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