The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Movie Review

Director: Michael Chaves

Writer: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas

Plot: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.


Tagline – She Wants Your Children

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Jump Scare 101

Story: The Curse of La Llorona starts when widowed mother and social worker Anna (Cardellini) looks into one of her cases which has taken a sudden turn for the worst, taking the children away from the mother, the children end up getting killed, with the mother claiming it was La Llorona (Ramirez).

When Anna’s children Chris (Christou) and Samantha (Kinchen) get touched by La Llorona, they have been cursed, with Anna needing to investigate the myth of La Llorona, where she learns that the grieving widow will come for children to replace her own.

Thoughts on The Curse of La Llorona

Characters – Anna is the widowed social worker and mother who while doing her job, checking up on children that might be suffering abuse, trying to keep them with their parents, get involved in a curse, which puts her own children in danger. Baring in mind, she is a social work and was married to a cop, she doesn’t make the best decisions, we see how she struggles to communicate with her children, often leaves them alone and when they get injuries, she doesn’t demand answers, which remaining unanswered would mean she could be considered abusive. Chris and Samantha are the children, they are both dealing with the loss of their father, which would be difficult for any child, they become cursed by La Llorona who wants to take them, meaning they must first learn to communicate with their own mother, when the events start to happen. Rafael Olvera is one man that turned his back on the church in order to fight the evil in the world, he is the last resort for Anna, where he knows how to stop La Llorona from causing more pain in the lives of family.

PerformancesLinda Cardellini in the leading role does well through the film without doing anything you wouldn’t expect for a horror film. The child actors both do a solid job through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a widowed mother that ends up getting a cursed by an evil spirit that wants to take her children and she must figure out how to stop her before it is too late. This is a horror story that does do everything it needs to, to put a character in a position where everything they do know, can be turned on its head, when it comes to child protection. The story does however fall into the position of the start of the La Llorona appearance seeming quite random to the first victim, with not enough investigation into that side of the story, while the battle to protect is pretty much every sort of possession based film we have seen before.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does work if you want jump scares, it does build some up very well, with an umbrella sequences which is the standout for me. The mystery behind the film comes from just why La Llorona has appeared in the first place, which never seems to get answered, only how to beat her.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the scares in and around the family home, it does make a point that it is the family that is haunted not the house, which is key to how the ghostly figure appears. Being haunted in your own home is always going to be a scary idea.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make the figure of La Llorona look frightening, it will give the scary figure a look which would get a scream too.


Scene of the Movie – Umbrella.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is pretty routine for a horror film.

Final Thoughts This is a routine horror that does have a couple of good scares without hitting the heights of the rest of the universe it has come from.

Overall: Easy to watch horror.

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Citadel (2012)

Director: Ciaran Foy

Writer: Ciaran Foy (Screenplay)

Starring: James Cosmo, Aneurin Barnard, Wunmi Mosaku, Ian Hanmore, Amy Shiels, Ingrid Craigie, Jake Wilson

 

Plot: An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children who committed an act of violence against his family years earlier.


Tagline – They see your fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Evil Children 101

 

Story: Citadel starts when Tommy (Barnard) sees him pregnant wife violently attacked by a group of children with him helpless to protect her, the baby is born, but his wife Joanne (Shiels) dies after the attack. Tommy still be agoraphobic after the attack he is trying to raise his own baby with his only support being Marie (Mosaku).

With the children still trying to take his baby, Tommy is forced to turn to renegade priest (Cosmo) to help him get rid of the problem that is targeting his family, which will see Tommy facing his biggest fear in life.

 

Thoughts on Citadel

 

Characters – Tommy is a father with agoraphobia after he saw his wife attacked by a group of children, he is trying to be the good father for his new born child, but his fears are controlling the situation, he sees children trying to take his child, he needs to face his fears to make it through this trauma he is going through. Priest is a renegade man that is aggressively searching for a way to bring down the feral children, he sees Tommy as a chance to get the job done, even if it is against what his religion states. Marie is one of the social workers that will help Tommy, she is trying to help him through the medical side even if she is the one that puts him in contact with the priest. The Feral Children are the highlight of the film because they are genuinely frightening when they attack.

PerformancesAneurin Barnard in the leading role does make us feel for his character, we believe he has been through the trauma and is the desperation to save his family. James Cosmo is fun to watch as anti-priest figure. Wunmi Mosaku doesn’t do anything wrong in the supporting role, if only we could have seen more from the character.

StoryThe story here follows a new father that is dealing with his own trauma while raising his new born child, which will see him needing to face off against feral child that feed on people’s fears. The early thing that must be pointed out here, comes from the idea that we are not full convinced that we are seeing the fears of the character dealt with, for the most part we are seeing one man terrorised but even the people without the fear seem to be targets too, this mostly confuses the rule point in place. the idea that the feral child live in the abandoned flat complex doesn’t improve on things either because you would think more incidents would happen. The part of the story that does standout and is interesting to watch would be seeing how Tommy is dealing with his own traumas while remaining strong facing the possibility of not being able to raise his own child because of his problems, sadly we don’t see enough of this addressed with the horror side of the story taking over, which simply put, isn’t as interesting.

HorrorThe horror starts of being home invasion like horror, which worked for the illness Tommy had, but when we enter the flats, it does become the highlight of the action in the film, feeling dark, scary with anything able to jump out to get them.

SettingsThe settings show us the run down neighbourhood in which Tommy lives, the support groups around it and most importantly the empty flat block which has the feral children in it.

Special EffectsThe effects are used mostly look practical, with the moments surrounding the feral child being the most notable and scary ones.


Scene of the Movie –
Inside the flat block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It breaks the rules it sets up too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that does take its time getting going, one the chaos is unleashed with get a highly intense final act which ramps the fear up to the max.

 

Overall: Slow Start, Strong Finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – Y – Creepy (2016)

This ha been placed under Y because of the wife name Yasuko.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Chihiro Ikeda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Screenplay) Yutaka Maekawa (Novel)

Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yuko Takeuchi, Toru Baba, Ryoko Fujino, Masahiro Higashide, Teruyuki Kagawa

 

Plot: Takakura is a former detective. He receives a request from his ex-colleague, Nogami, to examine a missing family case that occurred 6 years earlier. Takakura follows Saki’s memory. She is the only surviving family member from the case. Meanwhile, Takakura and his wife Yasuko recently moved into a new home. Their neighbor, Nishino, has a sick wife and a young teen daughter. One day, the daughter, Mio, tells him that the man is not her father and she doesn’t know him at all.


Tagline – That man isn’t my father, he is total stranger.

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Creepy by Name, Disturbing by Nature

 

Story: Creepy starts when former detective Takakura (Nishijima) is starting a new life with his wife Yasuko (Takeuchi), where he is working as a professor of criminal psychology at the local college. His former partner Nogami (Higashide) comes to Takakura in hopes he can help with a mysterious missing case, where a family vanished leaving only their daughter Saki (Kawaguchi) behind, while Yasuko finds out the neighbours aren’t as friendly as she had hoped with Nishino (Kagawa) coming off creepy.

As the case that Takakra is working on starts taking an interesting yet disturbing twist, Nishino continues to start acting creepier and creepier, which only becomes odder when the girl living there claims she isn’t his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Creepy

 

Characters – Takakura was a police detective who saw his career take a tragic spin when he fails to save a victim from a serial killer, needing a change he becomes a professor of criminal psychology, moves his family away from the big city to start fresh. His skills are still wanted when his former partner comes to him for help to solve a mysterious disappearance of a family, which will only bring him back into a shocking discovery. Yasuko is Takakura’s wife, she is happy to start a new life and looking forward to meeting the new neighbours and the next step of their lie together. Nishino is the socially awkward neighbour, that doesn’t seem to be able to hold a conversation without getting creepy about it, he keeps his life secret, only opening up on the smallest details when it seems to work for him. Nogmai is the former partner of Takakura, who asks him for help with the latest case doesn’t seem to offer any answers, which will opening up the old version of Takakura who proves himself to be brilliant detective.

PerformancesHidetoshi Nishijima is wonderful in the leading role, which sees him caught between a new life or the old one he was successful in, Teruyuki Kagawa is truly disturbing in his role which will make you feel uncomfortable whenever he is on screen. Yuko Takeuchi is great to watch in her role which sees her caught in the middle of everything going on.

StoryThe story here follows a former detective that starts teaching, only to find himself drawn back into a case which might have a connection closer to home for him. This is a story that does take a little bit of time to get going because we do get a clear path we are heading down, but start following two different stories that will connect. The story does become very dark though which is intense to watch to see just what the serial killer has been up to and his plan for people. It only gets upped when Takakura is left knowing the truth and being left helpless to take the killer down at times.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes form seeing just what the serial killer has been doing with a new unique way of covering up the bodies in his path, the mystery comes from seeing how a former case could become difficult to solve.

SettingsThe film shows us how serial killers could operate in any neighbourhood, showing us just how they can get away for so long.


Scene of the Movie –
Bag time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does take slightly too long to get going.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most creepy disturbing serial killer films you will ever see, just seeing how a cat-n-mouse battle takes over.

 

Overall: Intense thriller.

Rating

 

 

The Curse of Buckout Road (2017) Movie Review

Director: Matthew Currie Holmes

Writer: Shahin Chandrasoma, Matthew Currie Holmes (Screenplay) Johnny Pascucci (Story)

Starring: Evan Ross, Henry Czerny, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Danny Glover, Colm Feore, Mayko Nguyen, Jim Watson

Plot: A college class project on creation and destruction of modern myth, turns terrifying when a trio of young people come to realize the urban legends surrounding the famed Buckout Road may, in fact, be REAL.


Tagline – The road less traveled… for a reason.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Creepy Horror

Story: The Curse of Buckout Road starts with the death of professor at the local college, Detective Roy Harris (Czerny) is leading the investigation, turning to his long-time colleague Dr Lawrence Powell (Glover) to just support his daughter Cleo (Provost-Chalkley) who is struggling to process the death of her teacher.

Dr Powell learns that Stephanie, Cleo and a pair of twins have all been having nightmares about the location of Buckout Road, which sees him start to investigate only for him to become another victim of the road, his grandson Aaron (Ross) takes over the investigation, joined by Cleo, Derek (Watson) and Erik (Mac) who are studying the idea of whether myths are real or not, with their focus on the Buckout Road one.

Thoughts on The Curse of Buckout Road

Characters – Aaron has returned home from his time in the military college, where he still has a strained relationship with his grandfather, he ends up getting involved with Cleo who is trying to unlock the myth behind the legend of Buckout Road. Cleo is the one struggling to deal with the loss of her teacher, with her project being on Buckout Road, she becomes drawn to the road with the only person that she can turn to is Aaron. Detective Roy Harris doesn’t seem to ever listen to his daughter and jumps to conclusion before hearing what could be going on, he doesn’t like Aaron, even though he has a strong relationship with his grandfather Lawrence. Dr Lawrence Powell once helps Cleo out with the death of her mother, he raised his grandson and now he is trying to put the pieces together when it comes to what is going on along Buckout Road.

PerformancesEvan Ross in the leading role does everything right without being a standout, he works well with Dominique Provost-Chalkley and when the pair are together it is the highlight of the film, but when they are alone, the performance from the both do seem to drop in places. Henry Czerny is great to see in another horror film this year following up Ready or Not. Danny Glover is here bringing some star power to the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group of college students that start investigating a myth from their local town, which does have a mystery about mysterious number of deaths, only to find themselves getting involved in the curse and it might not just be a myth. This story does try to focus on the idea that we do see a lot of horror films that focus on myths that could be true, which sees us trying to see the study it rather than just walk through it like others have. The weakness in the story telling process does seem like we are watching a series of repeating moments which does focus extending the previous version, or giving a slight twist to what we have already seen. We do jump around a lot in the story, which doesn’t help us get invested in what is happening through mix of reality and myth.

HorrorThe horror in the film does come through vision more than anything else, while it does look at a horrific look at the legend of the area.

SettingsThe film is set just outside of Buckout Road, it shows how the town is scared of the myth, but isn’t interested in investigating it further.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do work with most being wounds, with certain sequences having an effect to make us be in the correct time frame.


Scene of the Movie – Lawrence is that you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many flashes between reality and the past.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that plays into the cursed area idea that does jump between the present and the past a lot, too often at times, we get plenty of vision horrors, without any scary moments.

Overall: Vision based horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – C – The Confines (2015)

Director: Eytan Rockaway

Writer: Ido Fluk (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Patric, Louisa Krause, Mark Margolis, Ezra Knight

 

Plot: Take a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman. Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. But on her first night on duty, she discovers a horrifying presence lurking deep within the bowels of the decaying building. With her nerves already on edge, Streak must confront demons both real and imagined as she struggles to keep a grip on her sanity.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This Should Be A LOT Better

 

Story: Confines starts when down on her lucky single mother Streak (Krause) must take a job as an overnight security guard in an abandoned apartment building, her partner Cooper (Patric) on this night the disabled man that has seen people come and go over and over, with no one lasting more than a week.

When Streak starts exploring noises she hears, she learns the dark secret about the building leading to a terrifying series of events.

 

Thoughts on Confines

 

Characters – Streak is a disturbed young woman, she must prove she can keep a job to get her child back which leads her to the night watchwoman role. She doesn’t have experience in this role which leads her to explore and using her gift to learn the truth about the building. Cooper is the experienced night watchman, he needs this job and with his disability, it seems like a comfortable gig for him, this night turns into a nightmare as he must deal with Streak never being sure if she is unstable herself or there is something going on in the building. To round out our small cast we have a homeless man and the guy that hires Streak, neither do much else in the film.

PerformancesLouisa Krause in the leading role is solid enough, though we never truly believe her fear through the night and her lack of ability to make us feel like we could be seeing her on edge over just horrors doesn’t convince. Jason Patric is solid to, though he never gets the time required to do anything with his character. The rest of the cast barely get any screen time which is why they suffer from low scores.

StoryThe story much like many horror film keeps everything very simple, this is all we needed it to do too. On the first night of a job as a night watchwoman our leading lady must battle her own inner demons when strange things start happening within the apartment building she is working in. well this sounds like it should be an enjoyable enough watch for a horror fan, the ending only left me scratching my head which is disappointing, even though it could have made sense or not.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film mostly down to what isn’t there as we balance between stuff int eh corner over anything else. The mystery comes from what could be making the noises in the building and what is involved with the history of the events here.

SettingsThe film takes place completely in the building, this does keep the events confined to one location, we have the darker rooms, the forbidden rooms which only draw the horror ideas we could get.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough though most of it is the in the corners blink and you miss it moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The first visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best horror, it has potential of greatness, though it just doesn’t click things together like it should do.

 

Overall: Horror that will just become forgettable.

Rating