In the horror movie genre we can see the spooky, brain tingling psychological creep fests as exemplified by “Pet Sematary,” the recently repeated movie based on a book by Steven King.
These movies chill us from the marrow on out, make the hair stand up on our necks and leave us with a sense of supernatural terror.
Other horror films just make us jump up in our seats, what the psychologists call a startle reaction. I can still remember as a youngster seeing “The Monster That Challenged the World” and the giant caterpillar creature suddenly popping into view from off screen. I jumped.
“The Curse of La Llorna” falls into the second category. But even that low hurdle seems too much for the moviemakers.
Mexican folklore tells of the Weeping Woman, La Llorna. The sad lady drowned her own children and now roams around looking for more children to slay. She can be found near water, looking for her kids or submerging yours. Mexican tales claim that we will have bad luck if we we get close to her.
In the film, a social worker in Los Angeles investigates a case of child abuse only to encounter the evil spirit of the Weeping Woman.
Director Michael Chaves has a slim record as a director but he did receive an award at Shriekfest for his short film “The Maiden.” So experts agree that he can scare us.
The cast of mostly unfamiliar faces has no household names. Raymond Cruz, a character actor with scores of roles, woodenly staggers through his lines. I know lead actress Linda Cardellini can do better. Writers Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iconis similarly have a short sheet. They did co-write the also current film “Five Feet Apart,” a drama rather than a horror film. I can’t blame them for the script, in horror films the script exists to provide plausible situations for us to be scared. It did.
The blame must fall on novice director Chaves for not reminding the actors to “emote.”
I saw the film with a gaggle of 14-year-olds. They would not admit to being scared. If a scary movie does not scare us, what good is it?
This makes the sixth film in the popular “Conjuring” series. We have two more in the works. People seem to enjoy having the jeebers scared out of them. The producers will want people to enjoy slight irritation instead.
“The Curse of La Llorna” has an R rating for scary stuff you wouldn’t want your kids to experience. It runs a horror film average of one hour and 33 minutes.
I can only muster a miserable one and a half saw blades for this lackluster horror flick.