BY: Rohn Romulo
FROM New Line Cinema, “The Curse of La Llorona” brings the iconic Latin American legend to the Philippines in an original horror film produced by James Wan (“The Conjuring” universe, “Aquaman”).
Before there were horror movies, the currency of fear the world over was folklore. And while the best tales endure, few have retained their power to scare like La Llorona.
A mother, a woman scorned, a killer, a legend…she is the weeping woman who stalks the rivers and waterways, waiting in the dark to drag you away if you misbehave or stay out too late. And the last thing you’ll hear is her haunting cry: ¡Ay, mis hijos!
One of the most iconic and widely known figures in Latin American folklore, La Llorona – and her terrible, eternal hunt for children’s souls to replace the ones she drowned in life – has fueled the nightmares of generations of kids and left her mark on a vast swath of the Americas. Her story has taken on a life of its own through centuries of tellings. And though it twists and turns along the way, in every form and any language, one thing remains constant: it still scares the living daylights out of anyone who hears it.
La Llorona is a tale that generations of families have shared with their children, and the power of that legacy was director Michael Chaves’s true north in bringing it to a wider audience. “As we were prepping the movie, I wanted to talk to as many people as I could who grew up hearing this story and even some of the grandmothers who told it to them as kids. And what’s fascinating is that it’s never told the same way twice. The more people we talked to, the more nuances and variations we heard, but there was a real sense of wonder and terror in every telling. I came away with an enormous appreciation for their openness in taking me into this story, and really wanted to honor that in making this film.”
For cast member Patricia Velasquez, the film’s inspiration is closer to home. “I spent much of my childhood in Mexico and Venezuela, and grew up hearing the story of this woman who cries out for her lost children,” she reflects. “When we were little, we used to hear all the time that you have to behave or La Llorona will come get you. And we did behave and we did believe it – big time.
“And trust me,” she adds with an enigmatic smile, “even at this age, there’s a little bit of that story ingrained in all of us who grew up with it.”
And she’s far from alone. “What terrifies you about this story is that you believe it could actually happen,” adds castmate Raymond Cruz. “You can use it to try to scare your friends or keep your kids in line, but kids have disappeared, you see what I’m saying? There are more things in heaven and earth, as Shakespeare said, than we can even dream of.”
Concludes cast member Linda Cardellini, “Whether or not you believe, there’s something about this story that gets under your skin, no matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in when it finds you, because everyone has a mother, everyone has been a child and people have kids of their own.”
Produced by James Wan (“Aquaman”), Gary Dauberman (screenwriter “IT” and “Annabelle” franchises) and Emile Gladstone (“Army of One”), “The Curse of La Llorona” is directed by Michael Chaves, marking his feature directorial debut.
The film was written by Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis (“Five Feet Apart”). Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Walter Hamada, Michelle Morrissey and Michael Clear served as executive producers.
New Line Cinema presents An Atomic Monster/Emile Gladstone Production, “The Curse of La Llorona.” The film opens in Philippine cinemas May 1, and is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a WarnerMedia Company. Use the hashtag #LaLlorona