This weekend, the latest chapter in The Conjuring Universe arrived in UK cinemas. The Curse of La Llorona is the sixth entry in this ever-expanding cinematic universe and focuses on a new character, the ghostly Weeping Woman.
The Curse of La Llorona is not being specifically marketed as part of The Conjuring Universe. Instead, the movie is simply being billed as, ‘from the producer of The Conjuring Universe‘.
The reason for this?
I’m uncertain, but at a guess I’d say it’s because this movie only has one very tenuous link to the previous films in the Cseries. It’s possible that Warner Bros./New Line Cinema don’t want audiences to expect too much from this horror and if that’s the case it’s a smart move.
Over hyping The Curse of La Llorona would put huge expectations on this picture – expectations that would do it a disservice. By letting this film exist as a standalone tale (for now), The Curse is given room to breathe and it’s probably for the best.
The Curse of La Llorona is not a new direction for horror, nor is it particularly original (it riffs on various genre tropes). However it is an enjoyable movie, so long as you take it for what it is – a Friday night fright and nothing more.
There are some genuinely creepy moments throughout the movie and the Weeping Woman is a fairly frightening figure. Seasoned horror buffs will find themselves on very familiar territory, but those who only watch horror movies from time to time will come away feeling suitably scared.
Perhaps more importantly, this film is not as dull as The Nun (2018) – and that’s a great thing. I really like The Conjuring Universe, but boy, The Nun was hard going. This is not.
At around 90 minutes, The Curse of La Llorona is serviceable. It goes off the boil a little towards the end, but it crosses the finish line before restlessness settles in.
Nothing amazing, but not as bad as some critics might have you believe.
OK, so the film is fine, if not particularly original, however, there are three things which I took away from this picture which I think are very important for The Conjuring Universe. I do hope Warner Bros./New Line Cinema are paying attention.
Standalone stories are something which I want to see more of in The Conjuring Universe. Bring out more Annabelle/Conjuring films if need be, but also make sure there are tales like La Llorona which introduce new characters and new stories.
These tales can provide scares for general audiences, but for fans they can help pave the way for the eventual retirement of the Warrens (it’ll happen at some point).
The Curse of La Llorona tells a Mexican folk tale. More of this please – but folk tales from all over the world.
The Conjuring Universe has so much potential if it can harness folk tales from all over the world. This can help keep things fresh, to ensure we don’t just see the same old stories as the series progresses.
In this movie, Linda Cardellini plays a case worker, assigned to look after children who are at risk. She encounters the Weeping Woman as a result of one of her cases.
Cardellini is the glue that holds La Llorona together and I want to see more from her in this universe. I don’t need to see the Weeping Woman again, but I do want to see Cardellini.
I’d like to see her character getting involved in more cases with supernatural outcomes – not by accident, but because she is now going out of her way to seek out these situations. Bring her back in another movie, only with a slightly harder edge and a new mission: To help save children from the things that go bump in the night.