First, we had an evil witch in The Conjuring. Its sequel and The Nun brought us a demon dressed as a nun. The spin-offs feature a cursed doll named Annabelle. And now, in The Curse Of The Weeping Woman, we get … a scary woman in bride’s clothing.
Why are all the villains in The Conjuring Universe female? Are there no male demons or monsters out there? Is this because it’s easier to scare people when you have a billowy dress and long hair to cover your face in a spooky way? The gender politics of horror movies is really something worth thinking about.
This film, on the other hand, is not worth thinking that much about. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Curse Of The Weeping Woman is a great mindless entertainment. It’s the perfect thing to watch when you have an hour or two to pass without much else to do. Its story is relatively simple, and its scares, while a bit generic, are nicely crafted. And you’ll probably forget all about it the next day, which is great for those who are easily spooked.
While this film is the latest addition to the mega successful The Conjuring Universe, it mostly stands on its own. One character from a previous film appears, and one old villain makes a slight cameo, but you can go into The Curse Of The Weeping Woman without having to scare yourself through all the earlier films.
Set in 1973 Los Angeles, this film is the story of Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker with two kids. Anna is investigating a case involving a woman, Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) accused of having murdered her two children. As she looks into the case, weird spooky stuff starts happening, which Anna discovers could be linked to La Llorona.
What’s La Llorona? No, it’s not the latest Shakira hit. It’s the name from an old Mexican folk tale, a woman who drowned her children after being betrayed by her husband. Anna soon discovers that La Llorona might not just be a character from legend … and her children may be in grave danger.
Cue all the usual horror movie scenes. There are a lot of jump scares, but to the credit of director Michael Chaves, some scenes are quite well done – this includes a hair-raising bathtub scene and and the film’s climax.
But the film mostly plods along, going by the numbers, until the introduction of Rafael (Raymond Cruz), an exorcist-type person who helps Anna and her children. This character provides the film with humour, and his unorthodox style to ghost-busting really enlivens things up.
The monster, sadly, is creepy-looking but ultimately boring. She looks very similar to Valak from The Nun, but in a white bridal dress instead of a black nun’s habit. Perhaps the two are sisters or something.
Overall, the movie is decent, but a bit too similar to its cousins. If you haven’t seen any of the other movies from The Conjuring Universe, you might be super impressed with this. If you have, it’s still a fun watch, but nothing much to shout about.
The Curse Of The Weeping Woman actually has a lot of interesting subject matter. There is a lot it could say about child abuse, or the pressures of motherhood, or even about different cultural approaches to family. But these issues are just touched on rather superficially in favour of making things scary. And that is a bit of a crying shame.
Oh well. At least the scares are quite decent.
The Curse Of The Weeping Woman
Director: Michael Chaves
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez