Monday, August 22, 2011

La Llorana (The Wailer I and II) Combo DVD Review


Background:

While strolling through my local Half Price Books - I ran into the clearance DVD cart and couldn't control my horror movie obsession.  As soon as I saw this two pack I was interested in the subject matter of the popular urban Mexican legend of La Llorana.  The $2.00 price tag also helped seal this dvd's fate as another movie in my collection.  I will opening admit that I am not that familiar with Mexican horror movies, so I figured what the hell these can't be worse than some of the other foreign movies I have seen.  Without further a due, I give you a review on both movies in this relatively unknown horror two pack.


The Wailer (2006)
  Director: AndrĂ©s Navia
  Writers: Al Bravo , Rafy Rivera

Summary:
The story begins with the legendary tale of the Weeping Woman also known as La Llorona.  Legend has it that a young mother choose to end the lives of her two children in order to win the love of her man.  The man in turn resists the woman and with nothing else to live for the woman kills herself.  It is said that during the night you may hear her weep for her children and if you ever encounter her face to face then your fate is death.  The story then takes us to what I assume is present day (the time line was exactly clear).  We are introduced to a cast of 6 middle aged Americans ranging in IQ ‘s of 2 to 6.  As they make their way throughout Mexico, they are given an opportunity to stay at a cabin on the outskirts of town.  Because this seems like the perfect location for adults to act like teenagers they willing agree to stay.  What the tourist didn’t know is the dark history of the cabin and that the prior inhabitant isn’t willing to share.

Conclusion:
This movie had a great story line, attractive characters and small budget.  The worst part of the movie was definitely the acting , D- at best.  The characters were completely unbelievable and stereotypical.  The look and the feel of the town and its setting was perfect for the movie, however the timeline of events didn’t make sense.  We started the movie with a great 5 minute background story then we are subject to 45 minutes of immature acting, terrible sound quality, and characters the viewer could care less about, and then the last 15 minutes we given the outcome of these actors.  This movie did end with a nice touch that sets up the sequel very nicely.  What I couldn’t understand after watching this movie is why the beginning and the ending was so solid but the middle was completely filler.  The special effects were cheesy; however impressive based on the rest of the film.  The English voice overs should have been replaced with subtitles.   The real surprise was the character - La Llorona.  High fives to the FX team for introducing a top notch – highly detailed – apparition.   I want to warn you that if you plan on watching this movie either rent it or buy it in the combo pack with Wailer 2.  This definitely goes down as a pathetic attempt to cash in on a urban legend and at no point does have a re-watch ability factor.
Bloody Buckeye Rating:
1 out of 5

The Wailer 2 (2007)
  Director: Paul Miller
  Writer: Rafy Rivera

Summary:
We pick up some time after the conclusion of the first movie - with Professor McBride hanging on to hopes that his unaccounted for daughter is still alive.  He travels back to the very same town in which she was last seen and with the assist of a local taxi cab driver he is determined to save his daughter.  Mocked by the locals as a crazy man that won’t accept reality,  the Professor seeks alternative help from a Shaman, Priest and a little intuition of his own.  Will the investigative duo succeed where so many have failed or will he come face to face with the grim reality of what actually happened to his daughter?

Conclusion:
After the major let down of the first movie, I was very apprehensive about watching this one - but because it was a two pack dvd - I figured what the hell.  Immediately within the opening scenes I could tell this was a entirely different movie, yes the characters were consistence - but something was vastly different.  The acting and overall production value was excellent.  the lightening was clear, the camera pans were steady, and the movie - well it was an actually movie and not some fly by night short thrown together with some filler.  This edition of La Llorana allowed the viewer to have feelings for the characters, cohesive plot and believable human interaction.  The effects in this movie were not only top notch but also had a freshness factor.  There was zero filler, as the entire movie molded together like a high budget blockbuster. The English dialogs were very clear - I can only assume this was because the production company did this as a joint effort with the US.  My only concern is that the shitty-ness of the first film will decrease viewer traffic to this movie.  Fortunately for you, this film was created in a way in which you do not need to see the previous version.  One annoyance throughout the movie is obvious African accents of the Mexican officials – this could have easily been avoided with a Spanglish speaker.  Before you check this out stay away from Spoiler and degraded reviews.  I would recommend this movie to urban legend fans, paranormal fans and those who enjoy a good foreign title. 

Bloody Buckeye Rating:

3.5 out of 5


 
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