The Curse of La Llorona
Overview: After their niece tries to kill herself, a family moves into the girl's house to care for her, only to find that they're stuck in a horrible movie.
Directed By: Terrence Williams, 2007.
The Case For: Watching this family attempt to communicate will make you feel a lot better about how your dad used to beat you with a sock filled with batteries.
The Case Against: During the creation of this movie, they accidentally opened a gateway to what scientists have called The Nonsense Zone (the zone where nothing makes sense).
It's a truism, I've found, that you can judge the quality of a movie by how quickly it resorts to a tit shot in order to hold your attention. Terminator, for example, is full of time-traveling renegades and unstoppable android killing machines - no tit shot needed. Still, once it hits the point where Reese is teaching Sarah how to make pipe bombs and his constant whining reaches critical mass, out come the titties. Boom - whining forgiven, movie officially awesome. On the other hand, Terror Toons throws some boobs at you right in the opening scene, hoping that you'll be enticed by the possibility of more boobs to come and not do the natural thing to do when watching Terror Toons, namely, turn off the movie and burn your house down. The Curse of La Llorona (or La Maladicion de la Llorona, for our Spanish-speaking readers), gives us tits in the opening shot. Tits and bush, in fact. Full frontal in the first shot of a movie is the filmic equivalent of saying, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
The secondary sexual characteristics in question belong to a girl named Hana, who begins the movie having recently slit her wrists in the bathtub in an attempt to get out before the opening credits. She is found by a woman who immediately calls out to the girl's father and hurries to pull young Hana out of the tub, showing no regard for her nakedness. When the father does not arrive, the woman seeks him out, only to find him slashed to ribbons in his ghetto fabulous/anime faburous bedroom. We can assume that this is Hana's mother, largely thanks to her parental concern, her knowledge of the house, and the fact that she does not seem in the least bit flustered by Hana's nudity, but also because we are sane and rational people. Our assumption is not even close. The woman is, in fact, the family's mailman... er, mailwoman... no, fuck it, mailman.
Now, placing ourselves in the characters' shoes, I think we can agree that it's a good thing that the mailman found Hana in time to save her. That said, try to imagine a world in which a mailman can let herself into a customer's house, run her hands all over a naked, bleeding girl, and get her prints on the body of a brutally murdered man without becoming the primary suspect. This is the sort of gap between the way characters behave in this movie and the way people behave in real life that writer/director/producer Terence Williams expects us to swallow, because he hates us.
After some ludicrously pointy opening credits, we lurch forward an indeterminate length of time and find Hana sitting in her bedroom, staring vacantly out the window while a nurse hovers over her. A policeman enters, along with three of Hana's relatives. Getting to know these three dysfunctional individuals is crucial to understanding the depths of this movie's insanity. First there is Gabby, Hana's aunt and the unquestioned lord and master of the family. Upon seeing Hana nearly catatonic in a chair, staring out a window at nothing at all, Gabby proclaims her outrage at the situation. What is her big problem, you might wonder? Is it that Hana is still living in the house where her father died and she tried to kill herself? Is it that she has yet to receive any sort of psychological evaluation? Is it simply shock at seeing her niece in such a pitiful state? No, it's that the curtains are open. She immediately shuts them. Yup, her niece spends all day doing nothing but staring out the window, so her big idea is to block the window, so she doesn't have anything to stare at. That's a great parenting instinct, there.
Next there's Uncle Daniel. His brother was the one who got killed, so of all the extended family, you'd think he'd be the one who would be the most concerned for his brother's child. You're 0 for 2 so far today. Try to get with the program. It's tricky to tell who wants to be there less, Daniel or his daughter Patty. But then Patty has an excuse - she's crazy. Evidently she has to take medication or she suffers from severe hallucinations. So between Hana, Patty, and Hana's mother (whom we never see, but we hear is in a mental institution), this family isn't the most stable lot. Oh, and also everyone hates each other. So you can see why the policeman would have no problem leaving them in the house to care for Hana without the assistance of any medical professionals. It doesn't bother him in the least that Hana is the prime - and, in fact, only - suspect in her father's murder. It doesn't bother him that she has yet to be examined by a psychologist since her suicide attempt. It doesn't even bother him that Hana suddenly gets up and tries to kill him with a screwdriver right then and there. Nope, as far as he's concerned, family is all she needs.
Now let's take a moment to analyze this situation. This is a house where a man was viciously murdered, his wife was driven insane, and his daughter tried to kill herself, only to survive and end up mentally crippled, alternating between catatonia and murderous rages. Ask yourself, is there any feasible way that this house is not haunted? Even if you don't believe in ghosts, you have to admit that this is not a suitable environment for Patty, a girl who is known to suffer from paranoid delusions. I mean, Hana tried to kill someone with a screwdriver right in front of them, but Gabby and Daniel are content to let their daughter sleep one room over from her at night. That shows a pretty serious lack of judgment.
As if the notion of just moving into this haunted murder house isn't already enough of a blaringly bad idea, within minutes of settling in, Daniel and Patty find a loaded rifle in the living room and a half-eaten human brain in the garage. I understand that Gabby wants to help Hana, but if the fact that she tried to kill a cop with a screwdriver wasn't enough, you'd think that finding a disembodied brain sitting around would make her think that maybe, just maybe it might be a good idea to take care of Hana back in their own house. But no, Gabby just tells Daniel to put the brain in the trash, and goes on with her day.