Set in 1973 Los Angeles in the Conjuring universe, The Curse of the Weeping Woman (also know as The Curse of La Llorona) is a horror film directed by Michael Chaves based on an old Mexican folk tale about a ghost of a woman who lures children to their deaths.
Anna (Linda Cardellini) is a widowed social worker investigating some reported child abuse by Patricia (Patricia Velásquez) but when she rescues her two boys from their mother’s closet things take a turn for the worse. When the boys are found drowned in a canal, Anna bundles her own kids into the family station wagon and heads for the crime scene, where they encounter the ghost and the fun begins as it sets about haunting the family. Out of desperation they call on local shaman Rafael (Raymond Cruz) to help exorcise La Llorona from their home.
Despite a promising beginning, reasonable performances and some genuine directorial flair from Chaves, the film is a chore to sit through. It’s just jump-scare after jump-scare, and every single one is telegraphed a conspicuous quiet to heighten the dynamic shock of the inevitable banging and screaming. There’s nothing innately wrong with a good jump scare, but they are a cheap tactic and best used sparingly and not as the entirety of the film’s scariness quota. Additionally, the film squanders its setting and period, feeling neither very LA-Mexican nor very ’70s. Part of this is due to the obvious cheapness of the production, confined mostly to a suburban home and lacking appropriate musical cues, but also due to the lack of people onscreen beyond the immediate cast.