So they say that in early marketing of THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA that studio heads were trying to present it as a film on its own and not a part of The Conjuring Universe and that they wanted to save the reveal in the film that it actually is one a surprise. But then fans started to question whether this film was or not, especially when the poster released and it said “From The Producers OF The Conjuring Universe” and then a trailer came out that included a character that looked strikingly familiar and played by the same actor that showed up in the first Annabelle film. That was several months ago. When their goose was cooked, I don’t understand how they didn’t just go full monty on the marketing and let people know that yes, this is a part of The Conjuring Universe. They still tried to sell it as vague and they probably just missed out on a whole bunch of money, because on its own, this film is a dull mess, but within The Conjuring Universe…wait, well, yeah it is still a dull mess.
At least it isn’t as bad as The Nun or the first Annabelle film. This films problem is the screenplay and the non-stop cookie cutter cheap jump scares with absolutely no substance. If the film would’ve had some substance, it could’ve ranked high on my The C.U.F. list (that’s what I’m calling it instead of typing out everything for the umpteenth time). And the frustrating fact of this film is that it uses a good real premise, a real Mexican folklore, and has the opportunity to expand on that myth and spin it into a pretty sturdy C.U.F., but other than the mention of the actual lore and a couple of ways to keep evil demons and spirits away from your home, it doesn’t expand on shit. It’s as if the producers said, “ok, you got this great premise, get the story out of the way in the first 30 minutes and then just hit the audience with jump scare after jump scare until the end credits. That’ll make a great movie!” Well, it doesn’t.
And I think the director, Michael Chaves (who is going to direct The Conjuring 3), knew this, and at least tried to spice up the film with his own cinematic flavors. The movie contains really, really good camera work. Excellent style. Excellent long take shots. The film looks good. I guarantee you Chaves was looking at the screenplay, muttering “oh shit” into his head, and at least tried to figure out a way salvage what he could out of the dull story, dialogue and jump scares. It is saying something when I really don’t like a film but believe that the director would be better suited with a meatier screenplay, that’s why I think The Conjuring 3 will be in good hands, because that will not have the same screenwriters as this. While the Mexican folklore this film is based on is creepy and scary, the spirit/demon/entity haunting families and drowning kids in this looks silly, not scary, and not once was I scared or did any of the cheap jump scares actually made me jump. In the entire 3rd act of the film, instead of doing something different, we just get a home invasion type spirit, spooky spooky schlock we’ve seen 1,000 times before.
There is another positive of this movie, and that goes to actress Linda Cardellini (Velma from the live action Scooby Doo films from years past). Although her character is essentially another one dimensional mother that eventually believes her kids and that something supernatural is happening to their family, she makes what she can out of it. Her tears, frightened expression, and her trying to save shitty dialogue is what elevates this film from the mediocrity or shitty-ness of The Nun and Annabelle. Her kids were pretty good too. The person that doesn’t do a great job acting wise is Raymond Cruz, who plays an ex-priest in this. I don’t buy any of his fear or what he is saying in this, seems to be in it for the paycheck, which is a shame because you may know him for his excellent portrayal of Tuco Salamanca in Breaking Bad and a guest appearance on Better Call Saul.
Like I said before, this film isn’t terrible, it’s just dull and uninspiring. It has no substance, just telling you the Mexican folklore and quickly getting it out of the way so the movie can satisfy dumb ass millennials that buy into the whole cheap jump scare bait shit. It is unfortunately what sells. I’m curious to see how much bank this film makes when people living under a rock for some reason figure out they need to go see it because they’ve seen all of The C.U.F. and need to check it off their list. Anyway, you have this. But don’t fret, there is another C.U.F. before The Conjuring 3 next year: Annabelle Comes Home. And if they can somehow make it better than the far superior sequel to the first, Annabelle: Creation, then we are in for a huge treat, maybe. I mean The Warrens are featured in it, how bad could it be…right?
My Opinion Rank of The C.U.F.:
- The Conjuring
- The Conjuring 2
- Annabelle: Creation
- The Curse of La Llorona
- The Nun