Monsters, Motherhood and The Curse of La Llorona

curse of la llorona

Horror movies aren’t for everyone. Some aren’t for anyone. But while fright flicks are often freighted with lots of really, really problematic content, some also contain interesting themes, too. Unlike most genres, they have license to deal explicitly with some of the biggest spiritual issues we face: What is evil? What lies in the hereafter? What are our real priorities?

The Curse of La Llorona, out this weekend, deals explicitly with those questions and more—in both positive and problematic ways. But it also has a lot to say about motherhood: its power, its beauty, and how terrible it can look when it’s twisted and corrupted.

I had a chance to interview some of the folks involved with the movie recently (courtesy Warner Bros. and Grace Hill Media) on the Warner Bros. backlot, at the studio’s famous jungle set (where, among other things, the T-Rex/Jeep chase scene from Jurassic Park was filmed). Any screams you hear in the background are courtesy the studio, infusing the set with some La Llorona-like atmosphere.

I sat down with stars Linda Cardellini (Green Book; Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy). Both play strong, scared moms in La Llorona—one grieving the loss of her children, the other doing whatever she can to protect them. We talked about the film’s strong female characters and whether being real-life moms themselves helped them in their roles. And we also talked about how the child actors in the film were protected from all the scary stuff going on around them. Take a look:

I explored the subject a bit as well with director Michael Chaves and actor Raymond Cruz, who plays the film’s man of faith. Here’s what they had to say:

If you’re interested in hearing more of what Chaves and Cruz had to say about the spirituality in The Curse of La Llorona—and if you’ve read my review, you know there’s a whole bunch of it—check out more of our conversation here.

Again, none of this should be taken as a stamp of approval for the R-rated The Curse of La Llorona. But I like hearing what folks behind the movie have to say and want to achieve with their work. And for a few who do see this unsettling movie this weekend, they may come away with more than goosebumps.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Chuck Anziulewicz More than 1 year ago

Since we're talking about horror faves, let me suggest "The Others" (2001) starring Nicole Kidman. It's rated PG-13 and proves that a horror film doesn't have to have a lot of gratuitous violence and gore to be effective. Something as simple as a slamming door can make you leap out of your skin, thanks to expert direction of Alejandro Amenábar. But then again, it's not so much horror as it is supernatural suspense, and it keeps you guessing right up to the end.

I thought the more recent "Hereditary" was a great film that really went places horror movies don't often go. That is not to say I recommend it to everyone. In fact there are plenty of people I would most definitely NOT recommend it to. It's an emotionally punishing film. But no one ever said art had to be PLEASANT.

Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
I stay away from horror movies.  Things tend to get stuck in my head very easily, and I do not need fear and evil to be two of those things.
Karl The Klown More than 1 year ago
I usually stay away from overtly spiritual horror films (The Conjuring, The Exorcist, Sinister etc.....) and I get the feeling that this will follow in the same vein. Could be wrong. I'm interested in seeing the reviews for this though. 

Random: any other horror film fans on here? My personal favorites are;
1.Saw (yeah yeah. I can hear the naysayers already) 
2.Hereditary (SPOILER ALERT: it ended up being quite demonic. Meaning that I probably wouldn't watch it again. But it is the most terrifying film I have ever watched)
3.Killing of a Sacred Deer (I doubt anyone has heard of this one, but it is worth the watch) 
4.Clown (another obscure one, but really great) 
5. The Woman in Black
6. Alien/Aliens (both have aged wonderfully)
7. Se7en (similar to Saw)
8. The Blair Witch (I understand that I am in the minority on this one) 
9. The Cabin in the Woods (one of the funniest films I have ever seen. I almost consider it a comedy)
10. Scream (same reason as Cabin) 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Favorite horror movies? Off the top of my head, I'd say...

1. The Exorcist
2. The Shining
3. The Innocents
4. Night of the Hunter
5. Alien
6. Psycho 
7. Night of the Living Dead
8. Halloween (1978)
9. Bride of Frankenstein
10. Suspiria (1977)

-- The Kenosha Kid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1. A Quiet Place
2. A Quiet Place's Sequel

I will never watch a horror movie all the way through. They are just too demonic and scary for me. One that I would consider watching (at home) is Brightburn, for James Gunn's sake only.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love The Cabin in the Woods and the Saw movies... Sinister is really good too. I used to watch horror movies almost exclusively but now that I have a little one, my free time and tastes have both changed. I still like to watch scary movies (after baby goes to bed of course) but now I have to be really careful not to watch anything with kids, especially if something awful happens to them. Becoming a mother messed up my brain about stuff like that ...which, unfortunately, lets out a lot of my favorites (including Sinister!). If you like the comedy tinged ones you might appreciate Maniacts. It came out in 2001 and it's about two killers who fall in love in a facility for the criminally insane.
Karl The Klown More than 1 year ago
Hahaha! I've heard from several mothers (mine included) that said they had a hard time watching horror movies involving children after they had kids. 
Ok cool, i'll check that one out. I'm always looking for good horror comedies 
seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is probably the most successful bridging of an overtly "Christian film" and "secular film" that I've seen, with both Christians and skeptics being reasonably asked to reassess their own beliefs and preconceived notions, in a film that honestly isn't that scary (some scenes could even come across as corny).

Loved Aliens and enjoyed Alien.

"Game Night," effectively a horror comedy, was my favorite film of its year, though I will say it was quite vulgar.

I have heard of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" but have not watched it. I did hear good, old-fashioned things about "The Woman in Black."
Karl The Klown More than 1 year ago
Haha! Loved Game Night (although I really wouldn't classify it has a horror film. Just more of a very dark comedy) 
Sacred Deer is really worth the watch. It too is a dark comedy. But a lot more gruesome and disturbing then Game Night was. 

Yeah, Woman in Black is pretty old fashioned. But it is a great movie. No blood or guts. Just classic scares