The Curse of La Llorona is in theaters now. Read our full review if you want to know what we thought, and keep reading below to find out how the newest movie connects to the Conjuring universe. Then check out our scoop on the deleted scene that would have provided a direct connection between the Curse of La Llorona and the Warren family.
The Curse of La Llorona, the latest film by horror super-producer James Wan, is out now. It centers on the Latin American folktale of The Weeping Woman, the ghost of a woman who drowned her own kids before killing herself, doomed to roam the Earth looking for more children to bring to the afterlife. It’s an entertaining horror film with some good scares that unfortunately doesn’t live up to its potential. The biggest surprise of the film, however, is that it finally confirms what fans have speculated for a year--that The Curse of La Llorona is actually connected to the larger universe of the Conjuring franchise.
At first glance this movie didn't seem like it fit with the Conjuring universe, which started in 2013 with the horror film The Conjuring. That film introduced us to Ed and Lorraine Warren, two paranormal investigators based on real people, who take on all sorts of scary threats. The first Conjuring also introduced a doll named Annabelle, who terrorized three young women, as well as the Warrens' daughter. Annabelle went on to star in her own spin-off Annabelle, before having her origin story told in Annabelle: Creation. The Conjuring 2 also introduced new threats like Valak, the demon nun, and The Crooked Man. Valak then got its own spin-off in The Nun, while another movie called The Crooked Man is still in development.
In The Curse of La Llorona, a social worker named Anna (Linda Cardellini) in Los Angeles in the 1970s accidentally looses an evil entity known as La Llorona, who then goes after Anna’s children, forcing the family to confront an evil beyond their wildest imagination.
The '70s setting is enough to tease fans of the franchise, as the events of the main Conjuring movies take place in 1971 and 1977, respectively. While the producers mentioned during a Q&A following the film’s premiere that they were inspired by police procedurals from the time, it's not far-fetched to believe that making this movie fit within the Conjuring timeline was another factor in the setting.
While Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema never officially announced The Curse of La Llorona to be part of the Conjuring universe, another piece of information that was released officially a year ago had fans wildly speculating. The cast listing on IMDb included a little actor named Tony Amendola. His role? Father Perez.
Those familiar with the Conjuring movies may remember Father Perez as the priest living in Pasadena in the '60s, who helps Mia and John Form battle with the possessed Annabelle doll in the first Annabelle spin-off. Last we saw Father Perez, his physical form was being taken over by the demon to trick Mia and take her baby’s soul, but by the end he was Perez alive and well, christening the Form’s child.
When we meet Father Perez in The Curse of La Llorona, he’s working as a priest in Los Angeles. Anna contacts him to learn more about La Llorona herself, and he serves as the audience's introduction to the folktale and points Anna in the direction of Raymond Cruz’s curandero character.
Director Michael Chaves says the movie was always meant to be a part of the Conjuring universe. "James [was] brought in as a producer very early on," the director told GameSpot. "The first script that I saw had Father Perez in it, and there was some debate on where to take that connection, but James was really excited about including this movie in the bigger Conjuring universe."
When it comes to the lack of marketing for the film’s connection to the rest of the franchise, Chaves is glad they kept things a secret. "I wanted it to be a surprise," he said. "Secrets and surprises are so rare that it’s almost more infectious to try and keep a secret." Chaves also told GameSpot that other cameos and connections were discussed, and there is another scene that unfortunately got deleted, but may show up in the Blu-Ray.
When it came to working alongside James Wan, Chaves was excited about the possibilities. "I am a crazy James Wan fan," Chaves said. "The craziest thing is being able to pitch scares to him, and having him say 'yeah'--it feels so satisfying."
Linda Cardellini agrees and added that Wan is as big a fan of the genre as the audience. "He is a great collaborator," the actress told GameSpot. "He was around a lot and he loves and cares about these [horror] movies."
The Curse of La Llorona hits theaters April 19.