Shudder Original film La Llorona has been selected to represent Guatemala for the 2021 International Oscars.
La Llorona began streaming on Shudder in August of this year after it was screened at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, and reviews for the film have been mostly positive. Director Jayro Bustamente’s first feature film, Ixcanul also received Guatemala’s Oscar submission in 2015.
The folk legend of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) was also adapted for the screen by Blumhouse Productions in The Curse of La Llorona, but this vision is more serious and deals with the very real issue of genocide in Guatemala.
La Llorona focuses on a dictator named Enrique Monteverde, who was partly responsible for the murders of a group of native Mayans. Thirty years later, he is tried and convicted, but he is able to return home when the verdict is overturned.
Because of the angry hordes of protestors outside, Enrique and his family have chosen to stay in self-imposed lockdown, and that becomes even more difficult when supernatural activity begins to amp up inside their home. Enrique is suffering from dementia, and his unstable behavior results in most of the staff quitting.
A new housekeeper named Alma arrives as the disharmony is at its peak, and we are left to wonder about her true intentions.
The basis of the La Llorona legend is the tale of a woman who has two children. When she discovers that her husband is being unfaithful, she goes into a rage and drowns the children and herself, returning as a sorrow-filled wailing ghost.
In an interview with rogerebert.com, Jayro Bustamente says that his film’s version of the wailing woman “cries for something much more relevant than a man.” Instead, he says she cries for the suffering of an entire group of people and likens her to a “Mother Earth who cries for her missing children.”
Clearly, Bustmamente’s story is much more sobering than the average horror film, and reviews classify it as a frightening slow-burn film, that is often emotional. Although Guatemala has never actually won the nomination for the International Feature Film Oscar, they are certainly hoping that La Llorona will be the first.
Have you watched Shudder Original La Llorona? Tell us what you think of it in the comments section.