Review by Bradley Smith
The Course of La Llorona takes a real Latin American folklore and gives it a Hollywood horror makeover complete with plenty of jump scares, comic relief, and (spoiler alert) a happy ending. And to make a few extra bucks, they stick it in the Conjuring universe with a very loose connection. The story has a few holes and an inconsistent tone, but I still enjoyed it and recommend it, especially with an audience; the screaming and laughter from a large crowd covers the shortcomings.
In short, La Llorona is a vengeful spirit looking to “replace” her kids, which she murdered, by murdering other mothers’ children and breaking mirrors and just being creepy. When a social worker, Anna (Linda Cardellini; Scooby Doo, ER), inadvertently delivers a seemingly abusive mother’s children to La Llorona, La Llorona next sets her sights on Anna’s children. Each of the three family members, Anna and her son and daughter, learns of their new curse in their own very spooky scenes, but soon enough they are open with each other and seeking help together in their struggle for survival.
The script could have used a polish. There are subplots that serve no purpose and others only serve to advance the plot despite not making sense. For example, at one point, a social worker visits Anna at a doctor’s request because of some burns from an encounter with La Llorona; you could take out this whole scene and not change the outcome of the movie. On the other hand, a surprise visitor during the climax advances the plot not once, but twice and the second time was for the exact opposite reason as the first with little reasoning for the change of heart.
I could probably nitpick the whole movie if I think about it too much. It’s best to not dwell on plot or the underutilized actors or the predictability or dullness of some scenes. These movies do not get made to win awards; they get made because it is fun to be scared when there is no real danger, especially in groups. And I consider this movie a success on those terms. I will admit I flinched at a couple of the jump scares and I laughed at the comedy that was added into the second half. Sure, some scenes had me thinking let’s skip to the next bit, but overall it was a fun experience.
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