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  Legend of La Llorona, The Something To Cry About
Year: 2022
Director: Patricia Harris Seeley
Stars: Autumn Reeser, Danny Trejo, Antonio Cupo, Josh Zaharia, Zamia Fandino, Fernanda Aguilar, Edgar Wuotto, Nicolas Madrazo, Alejandra Gonzalez, Angelica Lara, Isabella Recio, Daniel Arias, Mauricio Galaz, Arumi Morales
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: A young family try to make it across the Mexican-American border, and as they wait in the forest next to a river for their contact to meet them, the mother leaves her two offspring to hide while she investigates where he has gone. However, when the kids are left alone, the little girl believes she can see a lady in the water and separates from her brother, who searches for her. But it's too late: he does find her, yet so does the spectre and drags them beneath the surface. This is La Llorona (Zamia Fandino), she is a ghost who has been around a long time and she loves to take children as her own, having lost her daughter when she was alive. Now an American family are going the other way, to Mexico on a much-needed vacation...

La Llorona really has been around a long time, and while never breaking through to any mainstream properties outside of Mexico and Central America, she has been incarnated a number of times down the decades on film. This Mexican-Canadian co-production was unlikely to place her in the pantheon of classic movie monsters, despite that proliferation, for it looked more like a telenovela that had somehow escaped onto the big screen, not that most would see it there, if at all, as it had streaming or DVD written all over it. If you did watch it, you would understand why the character - the legend - had never taken off in the movies, as she was better suited to a tale told around the campfire than it was ninety minutes of motion picture tedium.

There just wasn't enough to her story that justified the use in horror when there was not much she could do other than chase characters around, and this example grew very boring very quickly since the script could not find enough variations on its theme to justify itself. Time and again, the American family would see their young son kidnapped by Maria's spirit, then they would get him back again, then he would be kidnapped again, and so forth, to the point of being extremely tiresome. It did have the benefit of Danny Trejo in the cast, playing a taxi driver who continually pops up at opportune points to help out the family, called The Candlewoods, oddly (the mom is Carly Candlewood!). So tough was Trejo's character that he was killed by the ghost in one scene only to appear again a few minutes later as right as rain, as if nothing had happened and with no explanation.

We always knew he was a hardy soul. Meanwhile, the star as Carly (Autumn Reeser) must have been pondering her career choices as three quarters of her dialogue consisted of her yelling "Danny!" ad nauseam, which may start out unintentionally funny, but is guaranteed to grate on the nerves shortly after. Danny being her son, and her husband (Antonio Cupo) is present to harass her for not being more chipper about giving birth to a stillborn daughter recently, which if anything is even more grating than the one word dialogue. The effects were the best they could do on their budget, mostly featuring CGI clouds, but nothing about this was scary, unless watching someone's amateur video shot in their back garden was scary, which was what this looked like for the most part. Occasional absurdities cropped up, such as Trejo using a pump action shotgun on the non-corporeal ghost - which does get rid of her for a while - purely because he's an action thriller guy and that's how he rolls. But there were more flashbacks than necessary to tell us stuff that we could have worked out for ourselves, and really, you needed a lot of patience to get through it. Music by Tim Wynn.

[Watch The Legend of La Llorona on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from 17th Jan 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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