Updated: April 20, 2019 12:30:39 am
The Curse of the Weeping Woman cast: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz
The Curse of the Weeping Woman director: Michael Chaves
The Curse of the Weeping Woman rating: 1.5 stars
Working mothers with two squabbling children live through many a daily nightmare. Not finding the right pair of shoes on time for school, and watching that school bus drive away as you race to it, are just two of them. So yep, The Curse of The Weeping Woman gets that right. It’s tough being in Anna’s (Cardellini) shoes, particularly as her husband cop is lately deceased.
An ashen-faced woman wearing muddied bridal clothes with a veil covering her face, who has a really long and repetitive grab-that-arm-and-sear-it-good routine, as her ghost thing? Well, she may jerk you upright one or two times, but people like me are just hoping Anna doesn’t face the sneers of her non-accommodative boss for being late — “again” — to work on account of her children.
There is a problem with how this film treats the selfsame children too. While The Curse of the Weeping Woman is being marketed as the sixth in the ever-expanding and super-successful Conjuring universe — you are treated to a trailer of Annabelle Comes Home as bonus — in reality there is little connecting the film to it but for James Wan as producer, a glimpse of that creepy doll, and the grim words of a wide-eyed (and is that kohl-eyed?) priest citing Church and forces beyond possibilities from those previous films, who pops in and, quickly, pops out.
Stepping into his shoes is a Mexican shaman or “curandero” (it sounds lovelier than on page, with all those rolled a’s and o’s), “straddling the worlds between science and faith”. Rafael (Cruz) has to pitch in as the weeping woman is actually the Mexican La Llorana, who in 17th century drowned her two young sons in a fitful rage of jealousy against her husband, and is now fated to roam the world looking for young children to “replace hers”.
Through a sad twist of fate, her interested eyes fall on Anna’s kids. As Rafael goes about fighting the Mexican ghost, you really feel for the children. Not because of what the weeping woman puts them through — hiding behind curtains, slamming through doors, cracking mirrors, and the like — but all that they have to endure in the name of being saved from her.
Debutant director Chaves, trying to earn his Conjuring stripes, stretches a thin story, and then some more, refusing to give either Llorana or Anna or her two children a break (Cardellini really tries hard, and Roman and Jaynee-Lynne are not bad either). Spreading some Mexican “firewood” around, dangling wind chimes and crosses, sprinkling “Llorana tears”, and making himself some “breakfast for dinner”, with an embarrassingly flat joke or two, the curandero has a better time.
The takeaway: when dealing with a ghost, you better be well stocked with eggs (death/rebirth, get it?) and candles. The throwaway: using a ghost to scare children into obedience ain’t gonna cut it; we did it earlier and better with Gabbar. The giveaway: Chaves has a long way to go, for, if you are dealing with a ghost who drowns, buddy, why wouldn’t you drain your pool?
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