Rod sets up behind a large plant with some pretty snazzy spy tech. Everyone probably assumes that the badass private eye is just a pretty face, but it’s the 21st century and he’s now a technological wizard too. So far he hasn’t gotten anything particularly incriminating against Jamie and Patrick. It’s almost been three weeks and all he’s seen them shoot is several hundred takes of Jamie running down an alley. “But what do I know,” he thinks, as he levels the camera on Jamie.
Jamie gets the sense that someone’s watching him, but when he turns his head nobody’s there… how strange. He shakes his head and goes back to watching the latest set of dailies from 4Rich’r 4Poe’r: Dimension: Time. Patrick walks in carrying a plate of croissants and joins him. The cast is dope, the script is bomb, and the French Riviera is beautiful this time of year, but they both feel like something is missing. Helicopter cruise ships? No they already got those… a sixth bad guy? Perhaps, but everyone knows once you get past five antagonists it’s really diminishing returns at that point. Again the hairs raise on Jamie’s neck and he’s now certain that someone is watching him. He ain’t afraid of no ghosts and with a signal to Patrick they backflip their way off the couch and surprise the spy with their patented Twin Chop. “Rod?” Patrick asks, surprised to see their go-to private eye splayed on the ground. Embarrassed, Rod explains the situation. Jamie and Patrick stare stormily at him and tell him to go back and tell Adam three things: 1. Double their salary. 2. They now get final edit. 3. The bad guy is now a ghost. Rod stares at them in horror. That’s right! We’re hitting up one of our favorite horror franchises (seriously) with the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe. The Curse of La Llorona is only tangentially related to Annabelle, but that’s enough to get our butts in the seats… that and some not very good reviews. Let’s go!
The Curse of La Llorona (2019) – BMeTric: 48.1; Notability: 13
(Dropped like a stone after early positive reviews presumably from die-hards. Mid-5s is about right for a bad horror film, so I expect nothing less than a disappointingly banal film in the end)
RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Perhaps the film’s most grievous sin is that it isn’t very scary. … [I] wonder if part of the reason the Garcia family lacked cultural ties was an attempt to appeal to all U.S. Latinos, but in losing that cultural specificity, I lost the connection to what makes our ghost stories “ours.” While it was fun to watch a big budget horror movie finally play in the fertile grounds of Latinx superstitions, I wish we had a better reason to break out our sage.
(Hmmmmm, that criticism actually makes a ton of sense. La Llorona is very specifically Mexican so mixing cultures does seem to kind of water that down.)
(I think on the one hand the trailer is good because it doesn’t give away much and doesn’t give away a lot of the scares presumably since it focuses on the first time they meet Mrs. Llorona. On the other hand it doesn’t seem scary at all, and the monster design looks lame. So that isn’t good.)
Directors – Michael Chaves – (BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: A young director who was tapped for this and also, now, Conjuring 3. He did a few shorts, including a Billy Eilish music video, so perhaps that’s what convinced the producers.)
Writers – Mikki Daughtry (written by) – (Known For: Five Feet Apart; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: Not much about her, although I found the 2013 Blacklist where her and Iaconis has a screenplay entitled “Elsewhere”.)
Tobias Iaconis (written by) – (Known For: Five Feet Apart; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: It seems like Mikki Daughtry and him have been a writing team since 2013, so it is extremely likely they have had their fingers in tons of scripts over the years without credit. Prior to that pair up though he managed a writing credit on Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia.)
Actors – Linda Cardellini – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Green Book; A Simple Favour; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Brokeback Mountain; Legally Blonde; The Founder; Kill the Irishman; Super; The Lazarus Project; Welcome to Me; Return; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Strangeland; Good Burger; Daddy’s Home 2; Daddy’s Home; Dead Man on Campus; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; American Gun; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Hunter Killer; Notes: The star of Freaks and Geeks, she’s managed a very long Hollywood career mostly in comedy.)
Raymond Cruz – (Known For: The Rock; Training Day; Clear and Present Danger; Alien Resurrection; Under Siege; Bound by Honor; Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Broken Arrow; Havoc; The Substitute; Maid to Order; Dead Again; Future BMT: Collateral Damage; Operation Dumbo Drop; Man Trouble; Out for Justice; Up Close & Personal; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: He was Tuco in the early seasons of Breaking Bad. A consistent character actor it seems.)
Patricia Velasquez – (Known For: The Mummy; The Mummy Returns; Committed; Future BMT: Beowulf; Turn It Up; Mindhunters; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: Venezuelan, she grew up poor and has mainly been a model in her career.)
Budget/Gross – $9,000,000 / Domestic: $54,733,739 (Worldwide: $122,133,739)
(A huge success, as all horror films seem to be. This continues the Conjuring Universe dominance though, which I like because I somehow like all of these films. Go figure.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (51/176): Content to coast on jump scares rather than tap into its story’s creepy potential, The Curse of La Llorona arrives in theaters already broken.
(Boo, sounds like The Nun. It seems like a consistent problem with these spin-offs. That all of the set up, and lore building sinks things, so maybe La Llorona 2 or Nun 2 can save those spin-offs. Maybe bodes well for Conjuring 3 though. Reviewer Highlight: …we were cursed with the annoying and shrieking but not even close to terrifying La Llorona. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
Poster – The Curse of Los Sklogronos (B+)
(What a very strange poster. I guess props to them for trying something different. I would have thought they would do something similar to The Nun, but boy they went for it. Not real scary though… slightly creepy. I do like the framing and the little twist on the font. Nice touches. Certainly tells a story… almost too much of one.)
Tagline(s) – She Wants Your Children (C-)
(Huh… just kinda putting it out there. Well, no. She can’t have them. Does she want anything else? It almost feels like one person worked on the poster and the tagline and was like “perfect” after their first draft. “She Wants Your Children.” Nailed it. It’s true.)
Keyword – spin off;
Top 10: Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Men in Black: International (2019), Rogue One (2016), Venom (2018), The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), Bumblebee (2018), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009);
Future BMT: 68.1 Supergirl (1984), 62.7 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 The Mod Squad (1999), 54.6 Annabelle (2014), 42.9 Men in Black: International (2019), 40.8 Planes (2013), 40.8 Beauty Shop (2005), 35.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 29.9 The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), 27.8 Pokémon: The First Movie (1998);
BMT: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Nun (2018), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Elektra (2005), Wing Commander (1999)
(I at one point posited a theory that the ‘08 financial collapse made Hollywood retreat to only the safest of the safe bets and out of that grew a very safe business where low-risk properties, like sequels and spin-offs, dominate. Looking at this plot I now think that could have been a coincidence. It will be the story of the ‘10 though, that of universes, sequels, and spin-offs and whatever feelings you have about that.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Linda Cardellini is No. 1 billed in The Curse of La Llorona and No. 6 billed in Hunter Killer, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 2 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 20. If we were to watch Mindhunters we can get the HoE Number down to 14.
Notes – This is the second film in the Conjuring Universe to not feature, or reference, Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s also the first spin-off to feature an antagonist who didn’t appear in the main film series.
Raymond Cruz’s first top-billed role in a film, after consistently playing minor roles in television.
The first of two movies in The Conjuring Universe to be released in 2019. The second is “Annabelle Comes Home”. This is the first time two movies in The Conjuring Universe are released in the same calendar year. The “Annabelle” movies are also referenced in “The Curse of La Llorona”. (Wait … the movies are? Oh no, I bet it is like a Raggedy Ann film type thing, since that is what Annabelle is supposed to be I think)
The lowest grossing movie in The Conjuring Universe. (Still made absolute bank, it has a $6 million budget!)
Tony Amendola, who portrayed Father Perez in Annabelle (2014), reprises this same role in this film. (Oh fun)