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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The Furnace (2019 Movie Review

Director: Darrell Roodt

Writer: Darrell Roodt, P.G. de Jonge (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bernadette, Luthuli Dlamini, Laura Linn, Thandi Puren, Armand Aucamp

Plot: Newlyweds Mary and Matt celebrate Christmas, and their passion for running, with two honeymoon tickets to Africa’s ultimate footrace, The Furnace. Their excitement to race together across the biggest animal reserve in the world has them inspired. Then in a horrific flash, everything’s gone including Mary’s purpose for living. A year later, Mary is grieving. Struggling to breathe with an oxygen tank, she cries out her anger at God. Standing nearby, a man sees her suffering, and shares his own story of loss. Once a doctor in Africa, he fled to America when civil war annihilated his town. Now known by the nickname, Coffin, he digs graves after losing his practice. Coffin urges Mary to keep on believing, push through and recover, offering his help as a doctor and friend. Over time Coffin’s dedicated support and intense training helps Mary grow strong, and live to run again. But what will it take to let go of her pain .

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspiring Faith Based Drama

Story: The Furnace starts on the first Christmas days after Mary (Bernadette) and Matt’s (Aucamp) wedding, who have plans to challenge themselves to a race known as The Furnace 150km across African wild reserve, tragedy strikes though, leaving Mary needing an oxygen mask to get through the days.

Spending her time at her husband’s grave Mary meets the gravedigger Coffin (Dlamini) who consoles her, telling her his own story, offering to try and help her recover to the levels of fitness she is used to, so she can use her new found faith to complete the Furnace herself.

Thoughts on The Furnace

Characters – Mary starts this film married and about to go on a honeymoon the pair had been dreaming off, this goes in an instant, leaving her needing an oxygen tank to get through the day, with any hopes of running dashed. Angry at the world, she starts to close off, finding any attempts at returning to her passion ending in hospital trips, until she meets Coffin, here she learns about faith and new technology to overcome her odds to compete in the race that was her honeymoon plan, one that is a test for even the toughest runners in the world. Coffin is a gravedigger in America, even though he is trained as a doctor back in Africa, he offers to help Mary get back to her former self, teaching her to pace herself, preparing her for the impossible sounding race. He must watch from the side lines, with hope that she will make it through each stage of the race. Raphaella is a fellow runner that Mary meets along the way, one to help support her over the course of the journey.

PerformancesJamie Bernadette steps away from the action horror roles we have seen her in recently for a much more serious role, one that does play into her strengths, she deals with the athletic demand of the performance with ease, while bringing the emotional impact of her character’s journey through the film. Luthuli Dlamini does a wonderful job in his role too bringing the calmness to help make Mary strong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that loses everything she had a dreamt off until she finds her faith and pushes herself to get back on the track and complete the race she was meant to do with her husband. This is a story that shows the inspiration of wanting to overcome tragedy and finding a way to achieve this in a world you wouldn’t normal consider. We do get a normal montage of training, while a large part of the story follows the race being competed in. we do get to see just how much needed to be overcome, though it could have given us more of a time frame and just what the injury Mary had, like how likely it is to overcome, or would it be something she was meant to be living with for the rest of her life.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just how her life changes in America, while it does get the beauty shots of the African wild reserve seeing the different animals around area.


Scene of the Movie – The race final leg.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not getting a full look at the time frame.

Final Thoughts This is an inspiring story of overcoming tragedy to get back to the former strength, with powerful performances throughout.

Overall: Inspiring Throughout.

Transit 17 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Guy Bleyaert

Writer: Guy Bleyaert (Screenplay)

Starring: Guy Bleyaert, Zara Phythian, Lee Charles, Silvio Simac, Kimberly Stahl, Stefanie Joosten, John Flanders

Plot: After a virus infected France, Belgium and the Netherlands a team of resistance soldiers trying to safe a young girl who seems to be their last hope for a cure.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Escape from New York Meets The Last of Us

Story: Transit 17 starts when Tex (Bleyaert) and his team Eve (Phythian), Brad (Charles), Deena (Stahl) and Daniel get assigned to a rescue missing in Belgium, in a world where a virus has wiped out most of the population. The team knows the threats they will be facing, with infected hunting them down, but the mission is worth the risk, as it could lead to a cure to save the whole world from becoming completely wiped out.

Thoughts on Transit 17

Characters – Tex is leading the team on the mission, the rest of the crew will trust him to make the right decisions no matter what, he does have to make difficult decisions, but knows that this mission could change everything. Eve and Brad are both big parts of the team and feel like most soldiers we have seen in most film like this, the characters we do meet are soldiers and military people that are preparing for the operation and add in the 15-year-old they must try to save.

PerformancesThis is a film where the performances are not going to be seen as it strength, one of the problems here comes from nearly all the characters being portrayed as serious, which makes everybody too similar, not letting any of the actors make their character standout in anyway.

StoryThe story follows a group of soldiers who go on a mission to save a teenage girl in an infected virus world that could hold the cure for the world. The story does seem to borrow from the ideas behind Escape from New York, with the team needing to rescue somebody in danger and also the game The Last of Us, which focuses on the idea one person could be immune, which would be key to the survival of the rest of the humans. While the story flows well enough, the characters just feel under developed, with them being too similar and most situation being simple action that just ends up coming off like something that doesn’t want to risk anything.

ActionThe action doesn’t get to any level of intensity, which does leave us not getting excited about the bullets flying around.

SettingsThe film tells us we are going through parts of Belgium, only we don’t really get to see anything other than strongholds in the survival from the infected, using now iconic locations through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Look at the bite.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We just don’t get the level of intensity we could have.

Final Thoughts This is a simple action film that borrows from a couple of major properties, only it just doesn’t end up getting to the levels of intensity that it could have by the end of the film.

Overall: Simple Action.