The Curse of the Weeping Woman movie review: James Wan film works in parts but lacks The Conjuring's innovation
While The Curse of The Weeping Woman does contain a couple of interesting scares, the film doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessors.
James Wan’s Conjuring shared universe is no doubt one of the most innovative things to happen to the horror genre in recent times, but the latest instalment, titled The Curse of the Weeping Woman shows the idea isn’t completely foolproof. While it does contain a couple of interesting scares, the film doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessors.
The setting is quite typical – Anna (Linda Cardellini) is a social worker trying her best to raise her two kids. As part of her next assignment she visits the house of a certain Patricia (Patricia Velasquez) whose children have been holed up in a closet. Anna naturally rescues the kids, but unbeknownst to her, exposes them to a curse put by the titular ghostly lady. And like in every other horror movie, she seeks help from a ghost expert to escape the wrath of the spook.
The story is but a side table on which the vase of jump scares is placed. This is immediately where things become problematic because the tension filled moments are few and far in between, and even the two moments that manage to tickle your creepy bone don’t really have an emotional payoff in the larger story scheme. There is far too much drama inserted into the film – one gets the feeling that director Michael Chaves was going for what Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona did with The Orphanage, but the craftsmanship from that film is utterly absent. Scaring kids a couple of times is fine, but doing it throughout the movie for the specific purpose of inciting a reaction sounds feels exploitative.
The DNA to the Conjuring universe is also an overarching issue as the link is made in the most obvious and ham-handed way possible, to the point where it seems like it was done as a marketing gimmick than a well thought out plan. And there are, of course, some holes in the logic to artificially create a situation where the demon could prance around the house and suddenly show up in front of the protagonists’ faces. Anna herself is quite an idiotic character, where she encounters the demon many times early in the film, but then questions the authenticity of rituals to get rid of said evil force. The special effects are also not up to the mark, with our weeping woman seeming more screechy and caricaturist than menacing like The Nun or the creeps from the Insidious films.
Strictly as a film to be enjoyed on a date and be hit between the ears with loud sounds, this of course works fairly well as a cheap thrill, but when there are other, better alternatives on streaming platforms out there, including the same studio’s terrific Lights Out, it’s difficult to recommend a theatrical watch for film like this one. A more interesting alternative would be 2012’s The Woman in Black, which took the same approach of a ghostly woman going after kids but executed it to near perfection.
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