“The Curse of La Llorona” (Warner Bros.)

From left, Raymond Cruz, Roman Christou, Linda Cardellini and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen star in a scene from the movie "The Curse of La Llorona." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

By Catholic News Service

Intense but problematic horror story in which a legendary Mexican wraith (Marisol Ramirez), a weeping woman who killed her own children and now preys on those of others, stalks a widowed mother (Linda Cardellini) and her two small kids (Roman Christou and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) in 1973 California.

Despite some obvious loopholes in its plot, director Michael Chaves’ addition to the universe of the “Conjuring” franchise elicits its fair share of starts. But, while the usual red-flag items are mostly absent, an attempt to blur the lines between Catholicism and superstition, embodied in the figure of the ex-priest-turned-shaman (Raymond Cruz) to whom the troubled trio turns for help, puts this beyond the reach of all but the best-catechized teens.

Occult themes, bloodless terror, a single crude term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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