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Film Review

THE LEGEND OF LA LLORONA (2022) Review

Neil reviews THE LEGEND OF LA LLORONA saying the film “approaches its story with some original flare and solid casting.”

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The Legend of La Llorona (Altitude Films)

Watch The Legend of La Llorona on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from January 17, 2022.

Synopsis

While vacationing in Mexico, a couple discovers their son’s disappearance is tied to a supernatural curse. Based on Latin American Folklore of a weeping woman who roams the water searching for children to drag to their deaths. 

Review

Director Patricia Harris Seeley’s The Legend of La Llorona sets out to explore a mother’s grief, framed within a story of a ghoulish haunting. It sets up an interesting mystery with its opening tease and presents a family – Autumn Reeser’s Cary and Antonio Cupo’s Andrew – with an intriguing seton circumstances.

There are immediate parallels between La Llorona (Zamia Fandiño) and Carly which offer insight in to both of their motivations. Their shared trauma offers more in the way of common ground than conflict but this being a horror movie we have to work to reach a common ground.

For much of its runtime, La Llorona languishes in predictable territory. After suffering a miscarriage, Carly, Andrew and their young son Danny (Nicolas Madrazo) has escaped to an unnamed Mexican town for a break. The nondescript location has it all: a creepy hotel; a lake, expansive woods and a small bar populated by a cartel. It has all the perfect plot devices to setup physical and paranormal conflict for the family.

With Carly suffering after her miscarriage, it’s only fair that Andrew fails to believe her rants when she witnesses La Llorona attempting to kidnap Danny. His mistrust of her mental state adds an extra layer of conflict to the story and helps to move the plot along nicely. It might not be original but it does ensure that The Legend of La Llorona ticks all the right boxes.

A series of telenovela style flashbacks add context to La Llorona’s story and introduces Mauricio Galaz as her lover, Hernandez. She too lost a child and has been haunting the town ever since, stealing the children of others. She often comes only at night although it seems La Llorona shot a lot of day-for-night so there’s some interesting filter work going on. Her often watery appearance allows the film to experiment with its visual style and does bring with it the opportunity to amp up the stakes.

There’s no escaping the film’s low budget. As such when La Llorona appears in her astral form it does somewhat disappoint. Though well integrated with her surroundings, the overall appearance cheapens the final product.

The cast does an admirable job of adding dimensions to the script. Though over simplistic, Reeser and Fandiño really work to bring their characters to life. Bringing in the legendary Danny Trejo in a supporting role helps to add some excitement to proceedings.

Verdict

The Legend of La Llorona approaches its story with some original flare and solid casting but falls flat in its low-budget execution.

⭐⭐.5


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