20 Horror Movies for $7.50 — Part XVI.
Title Card: La Llorona is based on a Mexican legend of a woman who drowned her kids in the river after her husband left her for a younger woman .
You lost me at the title sequence. First we get the preceding on-screen explanation which is generally not necessary in a good movie. It is followed my by a montage of poorly composed pictures and cacophonous music. However, it is quite brief, so I was relieved to quickly see an opening shot labelled as Mexico circa 1500 AD; although it really had a 1510 AD vibe to it.
We a hear a titular cry as a young child is — I’m guessing here — drowned. Unfortunately, due to more godawful camera work behind the credits, I couldn’t say for sure. In the pre-title sequence there are even a couple of shots of kids swimming away — why would those shots have been chosen for a film whose entire premise is based on kids being drowned? Again, it is mercifully quick; for both us and hopefully the child.
The next scene is showing the presumably present day (2007 AD) New York skyline. We can, at least, be confident in saying it is later than 2001 AD. After an interminable flyover of Manhattan, we end up in an apartment where a woman is frantically making charcoal drawings, the latest of a boy with a red ball. Minutes later, the boy with the red ball is attacked by something with bad eyesight in the park.
This is the 9th kid that has gone missing in the last 3 weeks in Spanish Harlem. But this was a white kid, so things get serious.
The wooden Detective Scott is listening to the radio about the case, but turns it off — because why would a detective be interested in hearing about the cases?
Distracted, he nearly hits the artist-woman pushing her kid in a stroller across a cross-walk. After the fright, the woman stops — in the middle of the crosswalk — to give her kid a hit off his inhaler. So neither of these two lead characters are particularly likable or smart, but at least one of them does look hot in a wife-beater. For some reason — possibly lack of talent — the detective just stares her down as she does this. No apology, no remorse, just a dead-eye stare.
A woman jogging in the park hears some ominous whispers and her eyes get all red. She goes home to her 9-month old baby and hears more whispers. She calmly turns on the bath, carries the baby off-screen and drowns it. To her credit, she does go straight to the police and confesses.
Perez and Scott go to a fortune teller to get the scoop on La Llorona. Her extensive answers in Spanish with no subtitles do not help the film. We do learn that La Llorona is now stalking New York because the artist’s son is the reincarnation of of he child La Llorona drowned. Finally, we get a little meat to the movie.
The artist has asked to see Detective Scott at the park. Meanwhile, La Llorona is on quite a spree in the park. She kills Scott’s partner. We get a blurry POV of him pointing a gun and firing at this . . . what, ghost? This clod could be chief security officer on the USS Enterprise 1701-D. Then she kills off a couple of yahoos who try to help Maria and her son.
We finally learn through flashbacks that Scott was a stockbroker whose son was drowned by his ex-wife (grounds for the divorce are not mentioned). So apparently, Scott quit stockbroking, went to the police academy, made detective, and was lucky enough to be assigned to the unit that would get this case. La LLorona had been on a bloody rampage lately, but where was she during the 10 years it must have taken Scott to make this career change?
The artist loses track of her child after Scott insists at gunpoint that she put him down. She finds later him in the lake, but drops him as her eyes go all red. Scott saves the boy, but the artist for some reason jams two branches into her eye sockets, leaving bloody holes.
How did the kid survive underwater? Why did his mother blind herself? Is La Llorona still out there? Why did she kill the other kids if they weren’t the reincarnation of her son? We’ll never know, but at 83 minutes, I think we’ve put enough time into the investigation.
Just really a nothing of a movie with some terrible performances and camerawork There was the germ of a good idea in the screenplay, but it was squandered with dull characters, coincidences and unanswered questions.
-  In the legend, the ghost of La LLorona searches the earth killing other children to take the place of her own when she is judged at the Pearly Gates. Wouldn’t she get more satisfaction killing off married men who cheat with younger women? Does she not have access to the Ashley Madison list?
- It is interesting that the movie ties its theme into real cases like Andrea Yates and Susan Smith. It would have been more acceptable in a better movie — here it just seems exploitative.
- I would never have guessed that Detective Scott played Dexter’s brother. So he can act; he just chose not to do so here.
- Carlos Leon knocked up Madonna.