La Llorona follows a widow and her two children who try to survive a curse brought on by a being from Mexican folklore.
La Llorona Review
The Conjuring universe has spawned a series of films that have been the best that mainstream horror has to offer. They have been the only truly frightening films in the mainstream, from Insidious to La Llorona, despite an ever-increasing predictability and familiar structure.
As the latest addition, La Llorona struggles to keep the magic and charisma of the original films alive, but succeeds in having more effective cinematography and a more interesting and cohesive story than that of The Nun. The Nun and the first Annabelle remain my two largest disappointments in the universe, but La Llorona is beating out a low bar.
The intense moments and scares are generically designed to the point that you are hand-led into each scene fully prepared. It's like the long climb up a roller coaster, only to be inevitably dropped over the hill to climb slowly to the next one. It was methodical in its approach, but still had some nice set pieces.
The car scene, which was spoiled in our first teaser of the film, was a highlight, as well as the climax in the attic. The Conjuring universe has always had its bread and butter subtly hiding in the aesthetic of its slow and seamless shots, which this film returns to (unlike The Nun). The most haunting scenes come not in the scares, but the shadows that lurk and appear to hide nefarious beings, the Llorona spirit revealing itself on the stairs, and the single-shot moments of the mom patrolling the house looking for the culprit of open and shut doors.
It was a far more effective horror film than Pet Sematary, but it was still a disappointment. Not so much that the film was bad, even compared to its predecessors, but that the film is showing that maybe the Conjuring universe is starting to go through its heat death and may be on the tail end of its natural run. A depressing thought for this fan of the franchise, and also because I would've liked to see the seemingly shelved Crooked Man done justice.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 5/10