The Curse of La Llorona

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The Curse of La Llorona
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Chaves
Written by
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyMichael Burgess
Edited byPeter Gvozdas
Music byJoseph Bishara
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • March 15, 2019 (2019-03-15) (SXSW)
  • April 19, 2019 (2019-04-19) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Languages
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$123.1 million[1]

The Curse of La Llorona (also known as The Curse of the Weeping Woman in some markets)[2] is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves, in his feature directorial debut, and written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. Based on the Latin American folklore of La Llorona, the film stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, and Patricia Velásquez, and follows a mother in 1973 Los Angeles who must save her children from a malevolent spirit trying to steal them.[3][4] The film was produced by James Wan through his Atomic Monster banner.

The Curse of La Llorona premiered at South by Southwest on March 15, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on April 19, 2019. It received mixed reviews and grossed $123 million worldwide against a budget of $9 million.

Plot[edit]

In 1673 Mexico, a family plays in a field, and the youngest son gives his mother a necklace, who says she will treasure the item forever. The boy goes on a hike a while later and finds his mother violently drowning his brother in a stream. Horrified, he runs, but his mother catches him; he is assumed to be drowned as well.

300 years later, in 1973 Los Angeles, caseworker Anna investigates the truancy of client Patricia Alvarez's two children. Arriving at Patricia's house for a welfare check, she finds the children locked behind a door. After she insisted and though she was warned to get away from the door, Patricia attacks her and is taken away by the police. Patricia's sons, Carlos and Tomas, tell Anna to keep them in the room, so they are protected. Ignoring their warnings, she takes them to the child-services shelter, unaware that she put them in terrible danger. There, Tomas sleepwalks, and Carlos follows him until both boys see a woman in a white dress who attacks them.

The boys are found drowned in a river, and Anna is called out to the scene. She brings her own children, Chris and Sam, and they stay in the car while she investigates. She hears Patricia, accused of her sons' murders, screaming that it was Anna's fault for taking her sons and that Patricia had tried to stop the malevolent force of "La Llorona."

Chris leaves the car out of curiosity and encounters La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), who seizes his wrist and leaves burns. She stalks him back to the car, but leaves once Anna returns and the family flees the scene. The next day, La Llorona also grabs Sam and leaves identical burn marks. Anna interviews Patricia, who has an alibi for the time of her sons' deaths. However, Patricia reveals that in her hatred for Anna, she prayed to La Llorona to bring her own boys back and take Anna's children instead. Soon after, Anna encounters La Llorona when the spirit attempts to drown Sam in the bathtub. The ghost leaves burn marks on Anna's arm too. Anna seeks help from Father Perez, who relates the case to his previous experiences with a haunted porcelain doll. Perez tells Anna about former priest Rafael Olvera who has since became a folk shaman, who may be able to help them. Rafael arrives at Anna's house, setting up items for protection. In the night, La Llorona repeatedly attacks them and attempts to drown Anna and Sam in the pool. Anna pulls off La Llorona's necklace in the struggle.

Patricia arrives with a gun and tries to give Anna's children to La Llorona. Sam and Chris flee, and Patricia, realizing that she can't let another mother to feel the same pain she felt, and couldn't bring her children back to life anymore, comes to her senses and releases Anna, allowing her to help her children. Chris delays La Llorona by showing her the necklace that La Llorona's son had given her. This makes La Llorona briefly assume her human appearance and caress Chris, imagining him to be her real son. However, Sam accidentally unveils a mirror, and La Llorona reverts and proceeds to attack them. Anna stabs her through the chest with a cross made from a Fire Tree given by Rafael: trees that grew by the river where La Llorona drowned her children and were the only "witness" to her crime. The spirit is destroyed.

Anna and her children thank Rafael for his help. When he leaves, Anna looks down into a puddle of water beside the road.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In October 2017, New Line Cinema announced to distribute a horror film directed by Michael Chaves, with James Wan and It and Annabelle writer Gary Dauberman serving as producers. Then titled The Children,[5] by July 2018, the film was renamed The Curse of La Llorona.[6] Linda Cardellini was cast to play a single mother and the lead character.[5] Sean Patrick Thomas and Raymond Cruz co-starred in the film.[7]

After the first trailer's release, it was revealed that Tony Amendola was returning as Father Perez, last seen in the film Annabelle. The character gives direction to the family being tormented by the titular spirit and relates the haunting to his experiences with the demonic entity attached to the doll.[8] Despite this, Chaves has repeatedly stated that the film is not an official entry into The Conjuring Universe franchise.[9][10][11]

Principal photography on the film wrapped in November 2017.[12]

Release[edit]

The Curse of La Llorona was theatrically released in the United States and several other territories on April 19, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema.[13] It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 15, 2019.[14] The studio spent an estimated $35–40 million on domestic advertisements for the film.[15]

The Curse of La Llorona was released on Digital HD on July 16, 2019, and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 6, 2019.[16]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Curse of La Llorona grossed $54.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $68.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $123.1 million, against a production budget of $9 million.[1] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $45.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[17]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Under the Silver Lake and was projected to gross $15–17 million from 3,372 theaters in its opening weekend.[18] It made $11.8 million on its first day, including $2.75 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to over-perform, grossing $26.5 million in its opening weekend and topping the box office; 49% of the audience was Hispanic.[15] In its second weekend, the film fell 69.5% to $8 million, finishing third.[19]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 28% based on 191 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Content to coast on jump scares rather than tap into its story's creepy potential, The Curse of La Llorona arrives in theaters already broken."[20][21] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars and a "definite recommend" of 48%.[15]

Accolades[edit]

Award nominations for The Curse of La Llorona
Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2019 California on Location Awards Location Manager of the Year – Studio Feature Film Adam Robinson Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Horror Poster The Curse of La Llorona Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Most Frightened Performance Linda Cardellini Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Curse of La Llorona (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Curse of the Weeping Woman". YouTube. October 18, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 9, 2017). "Linda Cardellini to Star in James Wan Horror-Thriller 'The Children' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Squires, John (October 9, 2017). "Linda Cardellini Will Star in New Line's James Wan-Produced 'The Children'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Barkan, Jonathan (October 9, 2017). "Linda Cardellini to Take on The Children in James Wan-Produced Feature". Dread Central. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (July 19, 2018). "'The Curse Of La Llorona' Terrifies ScareDiego With First Look, 'It: Chapter 2' & 'The Nun' Debut Unnerving New Footage – Comic-Con". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 11, 2017). "'Barbershop's' Sean Patrick Thomas Joins James Wan's Horror Film 'The Children'". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Navarro, Meagan (March 16, 2019). "[SXSW Review] 'The Curse of La Llorona' Scares Up Its Own Space in 'The Conjuring' Universe". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Hermanns, Grant (June 14, 2021). "Curse of La Llorona Director Explains Why it Isn't Part of the Conjuring Universe". Screenrant.
  10. ^ Dawe, Luke (July 21, 2023). "'The Curse of La Llorona' Isn't Part of the 'Conjuring' Universe". Collider. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  11. ^ Squires, John (July 19, 2023). "Confirmed: 'The Curse of La Llorona' Is DEFINITELY Not Part of the Official 'Conjuring Universe'". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  12. ^ "That's a wrap! Had an amazing time working with old friends and now the best new ones on The Children directed by Michael Chaves. #setlifeisthebestlife 🎥🎬🎭". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (July 19, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Horror Movie Re-Titled 'The Curse of La Llorona' for Spring Release". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Nolfi, Joey (February 6, 2019). "Pet Sematary remake to world premiere at 2019 SXSW Film Festival". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 21, 2019). "Lowest Easter Weekend At The B.O. Since 2005 Despite $26M Purse Of 'La Llorona' – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Curse of La Llorona DVD Release Date August 6, 2019". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 27, 2020). "Small Movies, Big Profits: 2019 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 16, 2019). "Will 'Shazam!' Be Cursed By 'Llorona' Over Easter Weekend? – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 28, 2019). "Avengers: Endgame' Rests At $357M+ Opening Record; Eyes $33M+ Monday & Record $180M 2nd Frame; Weekend Biz Hits $401M+ High". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Curse of La Llorona (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  21. ^ Fujitani, Ryan (April 18, 2019). "The Curse of La Llorona is a Crying Shame". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Curse of La Llorona Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 23, 2019.

External links[edit]