• Mike Holtz

Horror Movie Review: Shudder's 'La llorona' Is The Polar Opposite of The 2019 'Conjuring' Film

The first thing to know about 'La llorona' is that it is a completely different experience than Universal's 'The Curse of La llorona' from a year ago. That'd be like comparing 'Batman and Robin' to 'Batman Begins'. One is a jump scare fueled Friday night horror flick and the other is an absolute dead serious crafting of horror story legend. Neither of which have anything to do with goddamn Batman but when you've seen them both, I've no doubt you'll understand. (*Batman enters the chat* "I'm counting on it!")

The story of 'La llorona' involves a dictator in Guatemala who's on trial for genocide. Both he and his family are confined in a home while the people revolt outside its walls. His wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself are coming to terms with his old age, the trial and the despicable life he'd lead up to that moment. Meanwhile, a new maid shows up to help care for the family. All of this spirals into an original and genius new spin on the story of the "weeping woman", La llorona.

You'll be able to tell from the first camera shot in the court room that this isn't a standard horror film. It's also not attempting to woo you with "elevated genre" tropes or any uppity bullshit. There's a non manufactured darkness here because the actual story here is horrific and serious enough without the window dressing. These filmmakers have, in the weeping woman, come up with the perfect heartbreaking and haunting conduit for the story they wish to tell. The horrors of the world we live in today, literally breeding the horrors of the world we fear beneath it.

Though you'll have to work for it a bit (There's a lot of running time between scares), when the real life atrocities of 'La llorona' finally run into the spooky side of them the transition is unbelievably seamless. You'll be hard pressed to find a film that so manages to make it's occult landing so believable. This is undoubtedly a slow burn horror film that chooses to end with a perfect landing rather than a big finish.

It is what 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' is to 'The Last Exorcism' to the umpteenth power or even what 'The Witch' would be to 'The Wretched. For those looking for a creep out that hits a little deeper in the soul than on the surface, 'La llorona' is shockingly well put together, heart breaking and feels uncomfortably real.

8.0/10 - 'La llorona' releases August 6th on Shudder.

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