The Curse of La Llorona Preview

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 

TheCurseofLaLloronaIMDb_BMeT

TheCurseofLaLloronaIMDb_RV

(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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALhy6XTpMlk/

(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+)

curse_of_la_llorona

(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;

TheCurseofLaLlorona_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)

The Nun Preview

“22 miles?!” Jamie exclaims, “we’ll never make it.” Patrick knows he’s probably right but they have to try to get their treasure to the masses. They sneak about the city like ninjas using the parkour knowledge they learned from Truth and Dare. Just as they reach the publishing house a man approaches at the same time. He’s wearing a thick turtleneck sweater with a pencil-thin moustache. “Damn it,” whispers Patrick, “It’s my rival, Manfred Long. He writes horror fantasy romance novels. They are totally played out. He’s a hack.” He quickly puts on a smile and slaps Manfred on the back, “Why hello, Manfred. Heading up to a meeting?” Manfred wipes his sweater, “Of course. Just going over my latest manuscript. Basically gonna change the world. Don’t worry about it.” “I’m not worried,” retorts Patrick. “I know, cause I said you shouldn’t be,” jabs Manfred. And they glare at each other. It’s tense. “Wanna hear about it?” asks Manfred. “No,” sighs Patrick, “we have a big meeting too.” But Manfred continues, “It’s a horror fantasy romance novel about a girl who falls in love with a swamp monster.” At that they freeze. Swamp monster? Shit. Jamie catches Patrick’s eye and they all start running for the publishing office at the same time. They gotta get their book out there and fast before that piece of shit Manfred Long plays out Swamp Monsters. They rush up the stairs and obviously easily outpace that hack Manfred Long. When they reach the office they throw the manuscript on the desk of Patrick’s literary agent. Huffing and puffing they look up the find Patrick’s agent holding a gun. “Excellent,” he says, “this will do nicely.” Patrick is shocked. He trusted his agent like a brother and yet he was a double agent the whole time. Manfred enters, also with a gun. Suddenly a shot rings out… and Patrick’s agent falls dead. A triple agent! My god! “Yes, excellent,” says Manfred Long, “our agent wanted this only for money. But I want it for something far greater.” The air in the room grows cold as Jamie and Patrick both whisper the name… Gigandet. That’s right! We’re transitioning to the new year! 2019! And we’re starting off hot with some Franchise-zzzz. Here we will start or finish some major BMT franchises as well as attempt to right some wrong in the BMT past. Most notably our decision to skip right past Predator II when we started in on that franchise. Gotta finish that one up. So we start it up with a major 2018 prequel The Nun which is one of several branches in The Conjuring Universe. I watched the first film in theaters and enjoyed it quite a bit so will be fun to catch up with The Conjuring 2 and The Nun. Let’s go!

The Nun (2018) – BMeTric: 49.6

thenun_bmet

thenun_rv

(This will be 50+ by the new year which is pretty incredible. No one rocks a bad review like horror fans who sniff any sort of cliched scare tactics. I’m still a bit surprised at how low the IMDb rating is, 5.5 is legit terrible!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The “Conjuring” movies—especially James Wan’s original two, and not so much the “Annabelle” prequels—stood apart from so much demon-themed horror with their well-drawn characters, strong performances and powerful emotional underpinning. “The Nun” feels like an empty thrill ride by comparison.

(Having watched the original two at this point I agree with that assessment, and this is the impression I get from the reviews as well. Tired, cliche, and totally out of sorts with the rest of the franchise. That small review of the Annabelle franchise is a bit ominous, I’ve heard good thing about Annabelle: Origins.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD9zGcUNrw

(Make sure you watch to the end … for our stupid jump scare which everyone is going to get mad at us for. And yet … not so mad people won’t go see the film since it made bank. Go figure. Fine trailer I guess, although I had jump scares, they are dumb non-scares, so that is not a good sign for the film as a whole.)

Directors – Corin Hardy – (Known For: The Hallow; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Seems to work a lot in ads and stuff. Started in sculpting, prop design, and animation for film and theater and only relatively recently started to direct features.)

Writers – Gary Dauberman (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: It; Annabelle: Creation; Future BMT: Annabelle; Wolves at the Door; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually set to make his directorial debut with the next Annabelle film.)

James Wan (story by) – (Known For: Aquaman; The Conjuring 2; Saw; Future BMT: Saw III; Dead Silence; Insidious: Chapter 2; BMT: The Nun; Notes: He has had an amazing career and has been a part of some of the biggest franchises ever with Saw, The Conjuring, Furious 7, and most recently Aquaman.)

Actors – Demián Bichir – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Alien: Covenant; Savages; The Heat; Che: Part One; Lowriders; Dom Hemingway; A Better Life; Foreverland; 7:19; Future BMT: Solo; Machete Kills; Good Kids; Perdita Durango; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Wait… he was in the film Solo?! Jesus.)

Taissa Farmiga – (Known For: The Mule; The Bling Ring; The Long Dumb Road; The Final Girls; In a Valley of Violence; 6 Years; What They Had; Rules Don’t Apply; Higher Ground; At Middleton; Future BMT: Mindscape; Jamesy Boy; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Sister of Vera Farmiga who plays a major role in The Conjuring series. Her sister is 21 years older than her.)

Jonas Bloquet – (Known For: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Elle; Orpheline; Future BMT: 3 Days to Kill; The Family; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually from Belgium and not French Canadian like this film makes him out to be.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $117,450,119 (Worldwide: $365,550,119)

(A roaring success which at this point is inevitable. Once hooked horror fans will come back again and again for more. They will gladly shit on the film online if it isn’t to their tastes, but I have no doubt The Nun 2 will make a ton of money as well. You have to spit in their face or produce a number of bombs in a row to get betrayed once that first hit is made it seems. Which is great in my opinion, the horror genre is one of the most interesting and fresh genres around I think.)

#4 for the Horror – Period genre

thenun_horrorperiod

(You’d think this would be better given the witch sub-genre almost by definition should be a period piece, but not even 10 of them have made over $100 million which is terrible. I guess it is at least 10 since for some reason The Conjuring 2 isn’t there when it is, in fact, a period horror film. Which means at least four of the top ten are Conjuring films which is nuts.)

#7 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

thenun_rratedhorror

(From I Know What You Did Last Summer to Alone in the Dark we’ve seen a ton of these films at this point. The genre has never been stronger with It and (arguably) Get Out flexing their muscles last year and things like The Nun making a ton of cash as well.)

#9 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

thenun_supernaturalhorror

(Nothing can beat The Bye Bye Man in my heart, but that is pretty good for a very strong genre. It hasn’t been this strong since the turn of the millennium for supernatural horror, and having watched The Conjuring, it is kind of amazing that a genre which has been hitting home runs since the seventies can still bring fresh takes and rake in cash. Something that things like slashers can never seem to get the hang of (although a few have come around in the last few years like Happy Death Day).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (45/171): The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic and narrative slackness.

(Wait a second… inconsistent logic and narrative slackness is enough for a 26% on RT. This actually sounds more like “we loved the previous two entries in the series and this didn’t measure up so fuck it.”)

Poster – Evil Twin Nun Time (A-)

nun_ver2

(I like this poster quite a bit. Nice balance in the visual and the font is good. Clever as well given the premise of the film. Just wish it was a little better with some coloring. Need to tie it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Witness the Darkest Chapter in The Conjuring Universe (F)

(Boooooooo. They need to pray for forgiveness for this tagline… ayo.)

Keyword(s) – spin off; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Elektra (2005); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 67.8 Supergirl (1984); 64.5 Tekken (2010); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.4 The Mod Squad (1999); 54.6 Annabelle (I) (2014); 51.1 The Scorpion King (2002); 49.6 The Nun (2018); 47.4 MacGruber (2010);

(Oooooo Supergirl is going to be a super weird film for sure. And there is Annabelle and Paranormal Activity as well which are inevitably going to have to be done. Bantastic.)

Notes – The film was shot entirely in Romania. (Yeah it was)

The events take place before Annabelle: Creation (2017), making it the first movie (chronologically) in the film series. Although the opening scenes of Annabelle: Creation take place before The Nun, the rest occurs afterwards.

Taissa Farmiga, who played Sister Irene in this film, is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga in real life, who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016). The Demon Nun, played by Bonnie Aarons, also appeared in The Conjuring 2 (2016) and had a brief cameo in Annabelle: Creation (2017). Though the sisters’ characters are not at all related to each other, they are both devout Catholics with clairvoyant abilities.

This was Valak’s third appearance after The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017). Although Valak did not appear in The Conjuring (2013), the scary premonition that Lorraine Warren had in that film was about Valak, as later revealed in Conjuring 2.

After the “Demon Nun” from The Conjuring 2 (2016) proved to be a popular horror antagonist, a spin-off focusing on the character was green-lit, making her the second character from the franchise to get her own feature after Annabelle (2014). The Crooked Man from Conjuring 2 will be the third in The Crooked Man. (Maybe. I guess since The Nun smashed it they will go forward with it, but it kind of sounds like a terrible idea, The Crooked Man is by far the weakest demon character of the three IMO)

Despite the Conjuring and its sequel being based on true events, this film is not based on any real historical events and is entirely fictional

An advertisement for the film was pulled from the video sharing site YouTube, as many users complained that the five second clip featuring a startling jumpscare was “too scary.” Administrators thus removed the ad and apologized, claiming that it was not their intention to publish content that may potentially “offend” or “shock” viewers. (And afterwards people were still seeing it apparently and super pissed. It is basically just a crazy jump scare which shouldn’t be pulled on unsuspecting people)

The film was originally set to hit cinemas in mid-July of 2018 but was pushed back closer to Halloween season on September 7, in hopes of doing as successful at the box office as It (2017) did last year, which smashed records and earned more than USD $700M. (It didn’t do quite that well, but it did do very well).

At the end of The Nun, a scene from The Conjuring (2013) is shown where Ed & Lorraine are performing an exorcism on Maurice. This scene links the Maurice from that video as being the same Maurice from The Nun, but they edited the scene to fit into the narrative of The Nun: they edited in Jonas Bloquet into the exorcism scene, as he used to be played by a different actor (Christof Veillon); they added in dialogue of Ed saying “they called him Frenchie”, so as to make a better connection. (Uh yeah … you can tell. It was pretty weak to be honest).

Valak is mentioned by name only once, when Father Burke looks into the abbey’s history. Everyone else refers to it as “the evil” or “the demon”.

The name Valak can be found in the upside pentagram all in uppercase. (I guess … Valac was a thing before these films, and spelled with a C, so that seems like a coincidence.)