Can you believe that this is the sixth installment in the Conjuring series of films? This is the first one to feature a ghost that didn’t first appear in the mainline films, centering on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, which is all about the ghost of a woman who drowned her children in a fit of jealous rage and now cries while looking for them in the river, taking other peoples’ children to assuage her grief.
300 years after the opening of the film — which shows how the legend began — this movie begins in 1973 Los Angeles, where social worker Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini, who between Freaks and Geeks and playing Velma in the Scooby-Doo films owns plenty of geek hearts) is investigating the disappearance of Patricia Alvarez’s (Patricia Velásquez, Anck-Su-Namun in The Mummy films) children. When she finds the boys, they beg for her to keep them hidden. She wrongly believes that the children are being abused, but they are really the next victims of La Llorona, who drowns them in a nearby river.
If you’ve seen these movies before, you’ll understand that the ghost moves its curse on to her and her children. You may also wonder how a social worker — even with a dead cop husband — is able to afford such a great house with an in-ground pool. Perhaps you shouldn’t think all that much.
Now, our heroine is seen as a potential abuser as the ghost woman begins attacking her children. They turn to Father Perez, who was the priest in Annabelle, taking a movie originally meant as a stand-alone called The Children and making it part of the shared Conjuring universe. He sets them up with a former priest named Rafael Olvera who helps them rid their home of the entity, but not before jump starts aplenty and the daughter being dumb enough to value her baby doll over the life of her family.
If you’re sick of these films, bad news. Annabelle Comes Home is up next. There are even five more films you may not have seen — The Nurse, The Confession, What’s Wrong With Mom?, Blund’s Lullaby and Innocent Souls — that won a My Annabelle Creation contest and are now considered part of the universe too. Then there’s The Crooked Man, which has been in production. These films are moving further away from Ed and Lorraine Warren and more into having their own characters. My wife was totally not into the last one, The Nun, and then she saw that new Annabelle trailer and BOOM. Right back in. And of course, there’s another Nun film, too.
This movie is exactly like you think it will be. If you love these films, you’ll love it. Otherwise, you’ll be moderately entertained. It’s certainly better than the last one, but that movie felt like examining a bowel movement for ninety minutes.