The Curse of La Llorona
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola
Seen on: 17.4.2019
Content Note: racism
After being called to the home of one of her clients, social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini) finds the mother (Patricia Velasquez) in a very anxious state. She has locked her children in a closet and rambles something about hearing the sounds of a crying woman. Anna bringst the children to the hospital, but a short while later they are found drowned in the river. And whatever was after the children in the first place is now coming for Anna’s kids.
I hadn’t planned on seeing La Llorona, but then I had some time to kill and it was playing and I thought, yeah, why the hell not. And it was okay to watch, but if I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it, that would have been perfectly fine, too.
I have to admit that what stayed with me most about the film were my questions of the racial politics here. The film obivously draws on Latin American folklore for its story in La Llorona and most of the people we see on screen are Latinx – except the protagonist, Anna. Her (deceased) husband was a Latino, but if it weren’t for the looks of their children, you’d never guess. And so we get the story of how Brown children have to die so a white woman can become the savior of her own Brown children from a (supernatural) Brown woman. She does this with the help of a Brown man, yes, but it is her show and everybody else is the supporting character.
The entire thing made me uncomfortable, and, as much as I love Linda Cardellini and as good as she was in the role, this could have all been avoided if they had cast a Latina as Anna (and maybe had Latinx people behind the camera as well).
Overall the film has a lot of squandered potential, not only when it comes to centering a genuinely Latinx perspective. It also falls pretty flat on the horror front. It does have a couple of moments, but most of the time it believes itself to be much creepier than it actually is.
Oh well, it’s not that the film is a complete catastrophe and if you have nothing better to do, it’s watchable. But there are definitely better films out there that you may want to watch first.