This unscary, 70s-set horror about a child-killing ghost is a formulaic genre dirge
There’s something scarily inconsequential about fright flick The Curse of La Llorona, a formulaic slab of supernatural dirge destined to be forgotten by year’s, or perhaps even month’s, end.
Not technically part of the blockbusting Conjuring franchise yet linked via an awkward, silly anecdote about evil doll Annabelle (who also cropped up in last month’s Shazam!), this 70s-set horror starts 300 years earlier with an ineffective introduction to the titular terror. La Llorona is a mother who drowns her two young children after finding her husband with a younger woman, and her story becomes an urban legend for future generations. Struggling widow Anna (Linda Cardellini) finds out the hard way that La Llorona is more than just a myth after the child-killing spirit attaches herself to her family with murder on her mind.
Seemingly designed to appeal to undemanding teens looking for a quick scare, The Curse of La Llorona contains little of interest for anyone else. Director Michael Chaves does a competent enough job of staging the film’s familiarly constructed set pieces but he fails to evoke enough of a creepy atmosphere, his haunting video for punk pop star Billie Eilish’s Bury a Friend proving far scarier. It’s all too easy to see the joins, to predict the machinations, to sigh rather than scream and as the plot ticks all of the expected boxes, it becomes nigh-on impossible to care what happens next.