The Curse of La Llorona Blu-ray Review

gnoring 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. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review of The Curse of La Llorona from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez
Directed by: Michael Chaves
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Written by: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 6, 2019

“She Wants Your Children”

Synopsis:

“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.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

Set in 1973 Los Angeles, the film tells the story of Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker and widowed single mom struggling to balance the two roles while still coping with the loss of her husband.

As a skeptic serving a city of believers, Anna has navigated a multitude of phantoms and superstitions in her job, usually finding personal demons lurking beneath. So when she’s called to the home of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) and finds her two young sons locked in a closet, she interprets their terrified mother’s desperate efforts to keep them locked away as a dangerous sign of abuse.

Though Anna is determined to get Patricia the help she needs, her first concern is the safety of the children. But, because she is unaware of the very real danger they face, Anna has no idea what she’s about to unleash – or the devastation it will cause – when she places a psychiatric hold on their mother and takes the kids into protective custody.

In the deepest hours of the night, a haunting cry echoes through the corridors of the children’s shelter where the two boys sleep… When their bodies are later pulled from the river, their distraught mother lays the blame at Anna’s feet, and leaves her with an eerie warning: La Llorona has her children now… but Anna’s own could be next.

When darkness descends and her kids hear the weeping woman’s ominous cries, Anna is forced to confront the reality of Patricia’s claims: this legendary spirit is hunting children in modern-day Los Angeles…and her own small kids are her prey.

With nowhere else to turn, Anna puts her faith in Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz), a former priest-turned-curandero who has been preparing for this battle all his life. Bringing his powerful faith and arsenal of spiritual totems, Rafael bands together with Anna and her kids as they batten down the hatches and arm themselves for the onslaught when night falls and La Llorona unleashes the full force of her furious supernatural wrath.

The Curse of La Llorona comes from the producers of The Conjuring Universe, of which, I am predominantly a fan. Be that as it may, I was under no illusions that this entry was going to be as good as the better films to come out of that set, especially after seeing the trailer. Linda Cardellini is the main character so I figured it had that going for it if nothing else. Well, nothing else is essentially what we have here. I like horror movies and in general have a fairly high tolerance for those that eschew quality storytelling in favor of jumping into the nitty gritty with a few pulse elevating jump scares.

In the case of The Curse of La Llorona it not only fails to deliver an interesting plot and viable characters but, it plays out like a series of bad horror movie clichés that have been done so many times before and to better effect. The backstory on the evil who and why is pretty lame, which when coupled with uninteresting characters and ineffectual scares makes for a flat and occasionally silly horror movie. The end result is a lackluster genre entry that is just plain forgettable.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for violence and terror.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

The Curse of La Llorona comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel audio .

This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. Resolution is excellent with clearly rendered images that exhibit refined levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks terrific.

The soundtrack is solid, featuring a dynamically gratifying surround mix that features high level detail and, when called for, room filling surround sound. The sound design incorporates a blend of sound effects that are mixed to engage the listening position. Spot on imaging and channel separation draw out both large and small sounds and allow their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable within the room’s acoustic boundaries. This is not an ostentatious audio presentation, but it offers engaging bass that produces rich low frequencies that underscore the film’s elements. Dialog is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity. During the last 30 minutes of the film this is an attention-grabbing home theater presentation that plays perfectly to this film’s thematic content. Crank it up and enjoy!

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the intended feeling of someone walking overhead, passing behind you or, breathing in a corner.

When things escalate during the last half an hour of the film near field objects, and multi-dimensional ambience places you inside the scene as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix, I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

Bonus Features:

  • The Myth of La Llorona
  • Behind the Curse
  • The Making of a Movie Monster
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboards
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The Curse of La Lloronais a supernatural horror/thriller that brings nothing original to the table and winds up a contrived, flavorless and ultimate ineffective genre entry. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video. The Curse of La Llorona is an unremarkable film that is best left for viewing on late night cable TV.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems