A young woman, Hana, is passed out, naked, in a bath full of crimson water—her wrists slit and a bloody razor blade resting on edge of the tub. She is found by Sonia (Cydne Schulte), who goes for help. As Sonia makes her way through the house, she discovers a dead man hanging from the ceiling and another body in a bedroom. This is the striking opening scene of Curse of La Llorona, a horror film written and directed by Terrence Williams.
The story of La Llorona (which is Spanish for “the Weeping Lady”) is a Mexican folk tale about a woman that has drowned her children yet seeks them from beyond the grave, killing anyone who crosses her. Curse of La Llorona is part three of the “La Llorona” series created by Williams.
Since this flick only runs about an hour, a lot happens quickly. Hana’s troubled family moves into her house to care for her. Hana’s uncle Daniel (Antonio Royuela) and his wife, Gabby (Anne Stinnett), are informed that Hana (Mary Sanchez) is alive but she’s violent and uncommunicative. Sonia cryptically tells Gabby that good and bad are struggling inside Hana and warns that the house will not accept them.
And Sonia is soon proven right when Daniel and his daughter, Patty (Elizabeth Osbourn), are attacked by what seems to be the spirit called La Llorna. The plot advances very fast and almost derails, with references made to ghosts, past murders and even a land-grab scheme.
The film begins well but seems to lose its way as it goes. Terrence Williams and his wife, Nicole, are running an independent production company that specializes in on-the-run, guerilla movie making. Considering the total production time for Curse of La Llorona couldn’t have been more than a few weeks at most, and the complete cast and crew can be counted on two hands, the end result is pretty impressive. It’s obvious Williams knows what he wants to see onscreen and how to get it—you can tell there’s thought behind the camera work—and the director knows how to work with his actors. But the script is not as tight as it could be, with the movie showing some problems in tone and pacing. Also, some of the performers are miscast, and the lighting and sound leave much to be desired. I’d really like to see what Williams could do with a bigger budget that allows for real locations (though the film is supposedly set in the country, it appears to take place in suburban Los Angeles). Little things like this add up and hurt the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief and lose itself in the flick.
I enjoyed Elizabeth Osbourn’s performance quite a bit. She was believable and a lot of fun as Patty, the spoiled teenager. Anne Stinnett was good though miscast; she seems too young to realistically be Patty’s mom. Mary Sanchez has been in all three of the La Llorona flicks and is talented but really doesn’t get the chance to do much but be ghostly.
I really respect Terrence and Nicole Williams. They don’t sit around waiting to get movies made. They go out and make it happen. (This is rarer than one might think.) According to the production notes, they made all three La Llorona movies in three months. But one can’t help think that if they took a bit more time, the end result would be more effective.