If you’re Irish you’ve likely heard about a banshee. The eerie figure that if you hear her ghoulish cry means that you are meant for death. She has popped up in mainstream media over the years. I remember my first time seeing her. It wasn’t a particularly proud moment for the Irish, it was Darby O’ Gill & the Little People. Yes, that film starring a young Sean Connery. You might be wondering why I bring up the banshee well it all has to do with the La Llorona the Mexican equivalent of the banshee and the monstrous force behind director Michael Chavers horror The Curse of La Llorona.
The Curse of La Llorona follows mother of two Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini) a caseworker in the 1970’s. Her family is reeling from the recent loss of her husband in the line of duty. She’s keeping her young family together but the stress is slowly getting to her.
While out on a case Anna is instrumental in saving two children from a disturbed mother who seemingly has locked their closet surrounded by strange occult markings. The mother is locked away and the children are taken away to a safe location. That is where events take a darker turn.
Two bodies are found drowned and when Anna has to head down to identify them she has to bring her children with her as there is nobody to watch them at such a late hour.
While waiting for his mother Chris (Roman Christou) begins to hear a strange noise and heads out to find the source. It is at this point that Anna’s family may have garnered the attention of whatever evil force had attached itself to the previous family.
The Curse of La Llorona is a brilliant horror. Filled with genuine terror and suspense I was on the edge of my seat every time the “Weeping Woman” made her presence known. Through the use of some innovative cinematography and direction, the La Llorona feels like an omniscient and malevolent force. There is a particular scene involving Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) the daughter of Anna that sent chills down my spine. All you need know is it involves a pool and an umbrella.
One element for me that every successful horror needs is the human equation. Simply put in my eyes you need to care about the victims and The Curse of La Llorona has a compelling human narrative. Anna and her family are still recovering from the loss of her husband and she’s doing her best but you can see there are moments of weakness here and there creeping into Anna’s life. She’s a strong woman and her love for her children is apparent from the opening scene of the film.
Director Michael Chaves makes a strong feature debut with The Curse of La Llorona. From the characters to the monster this was a surprise treat. If you’re a fan of horror, especially of James Wan’s Conjuring Universe be sure and check out The Curse of La Llorona.