We were in a theater in Bali watching The Curse of La Llorona (re-titled The Curse of the Weeping Woman in Indonesia due to, you know, nobody knowing what a llorona is) when my mom turned to me and said “Is it almost over?”
“Why? You don’t like it?” I asked and she said “No I like it. I just haven’t been able to watch most of it because I’ve had my eyes closed the whole time.”
Alright well my mom is an especially big scaredy cat, but still I think, according to that low bar, we can call The Curse of La Llorona a success. It is certainly much better than The Nun which was out and out garbage. Is it a great film? Not really. But it’s more-than passable B-movie horror shlock and that’s all it really needs or aspires to be. The movie, unlike The Nun or Annabelle which were pretty big flops in my opinion, Llorona sticks to what is essentially a full-proof template for horror success that Wan established in The Conjuring: you open with a family living in some spooky ass house, a tracking shot in the opening to establish a sense of physical space, build tension and deploy jump-scares in the first third, then the ghost detective shows up in the middle (not the beginning like the fucking morons who made The Nun decided to do) to give the third act some legs leading to the climactic showdown.
La Llorona followed this outline almost exactly. It didn’t do anything to really rise above the material, but it doesn’t have to. It just has to stick to the template Wan laid out and not fuck it up. You’d think this would be easy, but as The Nun showed us obviously, for whatever reason, it isn’t always easy. The bottom line is that this was a reasonably scary, entertaining ghost flick that follows a boilerplate but effective template for making B-horror. And it grossed over $100 million on a $9 million budget. And it scared the shit out of my mom.
I mean, really, what more do you want America?