For a lot of Christians, darkening the doors of a theater to see a horror flick is a nonstarter. But like many scary movies telling supernatural tales, the story behind the latest Conjuring Universe movie, “The Curse of La Llorona,” reminds me of this simple truth: A diamond shines brightest against a black backdrop.
While the film isn’t an entirely Christian movie, there are biblical principles lurking in the background throughout the entire presentation.
“The Curse of La Llorona,” in theaters now, brings to life the 17th century Mexican folk tale about a weeping woman who killed her husband and her children before killing herself after learning her husband had cheated on her. Shifting to California in 1973, the movie chronicles the weeping woman’s lingering spirit and the havoc she wreaks on Patricia Alvarez and her two sons before turning to the children of social worker Anna Garcia.
Actor Linda Cardellini, who plays Anna Garcia in the movie, told Faithwire there is certainly truth to the supernatural fears conjured up by the film.
“You are a little bit afraid of the things on the other side or the dark side,” said Cardellini of being raised Catholic. “That I can relate to.”
At one point in the movie, in a clip shared exclusively with us, Cardellini’s character has a conversation with a former priest, portrayed by actor Raymond Cruz. Helping to vanish the haunting spirit, Cruz’s character admits he’s turned his back on the Catholic Church but says he will “never” turn away from God.
In addition to faith, the central message of the horror film, Cardellini said, is one about selfless and unrelenting love, particularly from a mother.
“I think the length that people will go to for their children and for love,” the actor said of the movie’s meaning. “The story actually follows three different mothers and they all have these heartbreaking stories: my character’s lost her husband, she’s a widow and she’s trying to take care of her children on her own while still trying to maintain her job.”
“Patricia is a single mother who’s had her own problems who is trying to raise her children, doing the best she can, fighting against something,” she continued. “And La Llorona has this story about roaming the earth heartbroken.”
Speaking to Patheos writer Paul Asay, Cruz said the film highlights the the fact that “the only way you can combat darkness is with truth.”
That profound reality brings me back to my initial observation, which is that a diamond shines brightest against a black backdrop. While “The Curse of La Llorona” isn’t strictly based on Scripture and ventures into some questionable spiritual mysticism, it boasts an important message about faith: that with love and trust in God — the God of the Bible — we can overcome all things.
Sometimes it’s in the deepest wounds and the darkest corners of life that we see God’s light shine the brightest. In his book “The Problem of Pain,” the late C.S. Lewis wrote:
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.C.S. Lewis
Each of the three mothers portrayed in “The Curse of La Llorona” are experiencing deep, seemingly insurmountable pain in the darkest days of their lives. But because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus, we don’t have to remain in the shadows. We can step into light.
“The Curse of La Llorona” is in theaters now.