Film: “The Curse of the Weeping Woman”aka “The Curse of La Llorona”
Director: Michael Chaves;
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez, Marisol Ramirez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen and Roman Christou;
A fascinating concept, a brilliant setting but a rushed job… that’s how one would encapsulate Michael Chaves’ “The Curse of the Weeping Woman”. It is a tale about a vengeful spirit that is out to kill children. The narrative opens in Mexico in 1673, giving us an insight into the Latin American legend of La Llorona or the Ghost of the weeping woman; where a scorned woman dressed in her wedding gown drowns her two sons in a river and then, overridden by grief and guilt, commits suicide.
Then three hundred years later, in Los Angeles, while Anna (Linda Cardellini), a widowed mom and a CPS (Child Protective Services) investigator, is investigating a case at the home of Patricia Alarez (Patricia Velasquez), she stumbles upon victims of the “dark spirit” in a white gown and we learn that she has spent three centuries killing kids, trying to replace those she drowned in her fit of rage.
Now Anna’s own kids Chris (Roman Christou) and Sam (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) are in danger of getting snatched. She goes to the local priest Father Perez who directs her to Rafael Olvera, a man whose “methods are unorthodox”.
How Anna and her kids manage to escape from the clutches of the weeping ghost, forms the crux of the tale.
While the film appears cool and spooky, the script in actuality is just half-baked and lazy. The narrative is generic and the few jump scares which are few and far-in-between appear predictable and lacklustre. Barely anything happens because the story is so bare bone with hardly any trade-offs.
Linda Cardellini does the best she can with the material she is given. She certainly captures the fear and concern a mother would have for her children. Patricia Velasquez as the mother who lost her children and now out for revenge, is equally potent. Marisol Ramirez as the spirit has nothing much to do but shriek throughout her performance.
The kids in the film are all endearing and they deliver some anxiety driven moments. Tony Amendola as Father Perez shows up in a two-scene role and gets the film connected to the “Conjuring” series. Probably this explains why the film is set in 1973.
Raymond Cruz as the faith healer is perfunctory, bland and corny. His one-liners in the middle of life-threatening scenarios are obtuse and jarring. His silly remarks break the momentum of the seriousness and make the film appear more comical than horror. Overall, while the film is cool and spooky in parts, it is also far from compelling.