The terrifying universe of Warner Bros. continues to expand and interconnect in some way. Although "The Curse of La Llorona" has no direct relationship with "The Conjuring" and the Warren who started everything, manages to link and convince us that, here, everything has to do with everything. The film debut of Michael Chaves is still a generic scare story, but it brings with it a novelty very anchored to the hollywood style.
The inclusion and diversity that is talked about so much is present in the film(not as fashion, but as socio-cultural and economic change within the industry), and here transcends the faces that appear in front of the cameras to get fully involved in Latin American folklore and traditions, not always recognized beyond the local level. James Wan, one of the producers and architects of this extended universe, echoes the "other", and leaving the real cases and his own terrifying creations aside, try his luck with this myth originating in Mexico, often considered a fairy tale to scare the little ones.
"The Curse of La Llorona" starts in the Aztec country many centuries ago to put ourselves in context and show us where this legend was born. Immediately, he takes us to the city of Los Angeles in the early seventies, where Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a widow and social worker, does what she can to raise her two children alone. The lady seems to be overwhelmed between home and work, but still wants to handle those cases that she already has assigned. Among them, the one of Patricia Álvarez (Patricia Velasquez) and her two little ones, a mother without help just like her, who must do good handwriting to maintain custody.
What he finds when he arrives at Álvarez's house seems to be strange signs of child abuse and, without understanding what the mother and the children try to explain, Anna has no choice but to separate Patricia from her children. The tragedy does not wait, and soon begin to accumulate different situations that Garcia can no longer fully understand. His lack of faith collides head-on with the customs of Álvarez and his community, convinced that this is an intervention by La Llorona, a soul in pain that long ago murdered his own children and now persecutes (and appropriates) other little ones to fill that void
This is what "The Curse of La Llorona" has to offer, a fairly conventional story that never manages to escape the common places of the genre, but expands its "theme" beyond the classic American and European myths. For the rest, the story written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis - the same people responsible for Five Feet Apart (2019) - is somewhat frustrating when we see adults and children act so stupidly and irresponsibly.
Producers (and studio executives) know that these little horror stories - with fairly limited budgets - meet their minimum standards and still manage to fill their coffers, because the scares always work among the audience, more than anything, teenager. Low risk bets from which nobody expects anything beyond entertainment, much less come to shake the genre. Hence, the predictability and little enthusiasm in the details that this film has, more focused on its "jump scares" than in delineating an interesting narrative that adds to these Latin American legends and context.
Sadly, it is mpossible to empathize with this family when things around them are so strange. Ok, we can blame the reasoning of a large part of the protagonists, but each cliché and poorly made decision are collapsing the intrinsic universe that wants to build "The Curse of La Llorona". A world that is sustained by the effectiveness of its staging and reconstruction of the time and some moments of the terrifying "creature", but to which the threads are seen every time it falls in those common places that we know by heart and we can anticipate without much effort.
We applaud Hollywood's enthusiasm for diving in Latin folklore, but it's useless if it's just a vehicle for a mediocre terrifying story.