La Llorona (2019)

la llorona poster 2019 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good creeping horror

Not a straight forward horror movie for those expecting scares

Movie Info

Movie Name:   La Llorona

Studio:  El Ministerio de Cultura Y Deportes de Guatamala/La Casa de Production/Les Films du Volcan

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  April 18, 2019 (Indonesia)/August 6, 2020 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

la llorona guatamalan general enrique monteverde war crimes

You can escape the law, but you can’t escape the punishment

Former dictator Enrique Monteverde (Julio Díaz) is facing trial for genocide in Guatamala against Mayan natives.  When his conviction is overturned, Enrique and his wife Carmen (Margarita Kenéfic), his daughter Natalia (Sabrina De La Hoz), and his granddaughter Sara (Alya-Ellea Hurtado) become trapped in their home by protesters along with security and their lone remaining maid Valeriana (María Telón).  Enrique is plagued with cries of a baby and mysterious circumstances around the home.  When a new maid named Alma (María Mercedes Coroy) is brought in to help with Sara, the horror increases…and Enrique’s past will come back to haunt him.

la llorona alma hair dryer maria mercedes coroy

When will people realize that people with long flow-y black hair are just dangerous?

Written and directed by Jayro Bustamante (with additional scripting by Lisandro Sanchez), La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) is a Guatemalan supernatural horror drama.  The film was a Shudder exclusive and received positive reviews.  The Criterion Collection released a version of the film (Criterion #1156).

I heard a lot of buzz about La Llorona, but with no access to Shudder, I never got to see it.  I was only familiar with the story of la llorona due to the rather weak entry in The Conjuring series The Curse of La Llorona…and was not sure how the legend would transfer to a drama-political thriller.  I was surprised to see La Llorona get a Criterion release and looked forward to finally seeing it.  La Llorona wasn’t a letdown.

la llorona alma pool maria mercedes coroy

Why does feel like somebody’s watching me?

The story is a classic supernatural horror story.  The legend of la llorona is very exclusively Hispanic and Latin American in origin, but it is worldly because the themes of the story are universal.  The combination of the story with the cultural genocide toward native people leads to a great means to tell two stories…and it works here.  The sins of the past come back to haunt them.

The cast is a little under explored.  Julio Díaz is good as the disoriented, elderly, and haunted Enrique who is truly evil.  I wish that the wife, daughter, granddaughter, and maid (who is most likely a sister) had been more examined and developed…the father’s horror is just starting to be understood by the end of the film.  María Mercedes Coroy plays the wrathful spirit haunting Enrique, and she does hold enough mystery.

la llorona ending carmen strangels enrique monteverde julio diaz margarita kenefic

They talked about this at Christmas for ages…good times!

The movie is very visual.  It is a relatively short runtime (90 minutes), but Bustamante makes the most of it.  With dynamic shots and settings, the film has real atmosphere.  It could have been longer, and part of the reason is that it is well crafted.

La Llorona is a solid entry into the world of international horror.  I like the look and feel of the movie and look forward to seeing how Bustamante will follow-up the film.  The movie isn’t in your face horror, so don’t expect big scares…but creeping horror instead.  It follows in the line of movies like Tigers Are Not Afraid and Parasite…which is a good thing.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response