La Leyenda de la Llorona (2011)

This is a kid’s movie. So why am I reviewing it? Because the ghost of Llorona got nothin’ on chupacabras! And I’m always hunting for spooks from other cultures. Damsel Bruja will write more about Llorona and Mexican ghost tales in another post. For now let’s talk about this movie.

Brother and sister, Beto and Kika go trick-or-treating in their village only to find a strange ghostlike woman. The spirit is Llorona, the wailing witch who kidnaps children. She takes Beto and leaves Kika in the forest. Enter Leo San Juan and his paranormal team of investigators. Leo San Juan is a cute character. His snarky sidekicks add comic relief. There’s Teodora, a ghost who mimics Paris Hilton,  Alebrije, a talking dragon, sugar skulls, and a knight. They travel by air balloon and wind up crashing on a haunted puppet island.

Leo San Juan learns that, in life, Llorona was actually a single mother named Yoltzin. When her house caught fire, she tended to the flames, accidentally leaving her children to drift downstream and drown. The loss proved unbearable, filling Yoltzin’s heart with hate. She became the vengeful spirit, Llorona, and captured other children to replace the ones she lost. Those who got in her way were cursed and drained of life.

It’s a decent kid’s movie. The art isn’t offensive, the side characters add comedy, however the movie runs a little long. I liked watching it in the original Spanish language version with English subtitles. I learned a little Spanish in the process, which is always a good thing! I liked the cultural references, too. Damsel Bruja introduced me to the story of Llorona one evening when we were talking about what inspired Guillermo del Toro’s  film, “Mama.” (below)

This short film frightened Guillermo del Toro. So what does that tell you? I’m really happy Damsel Bruja showed me this. It only makes me hungry to find other Mexican horror films!

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