J-OK'EL: Curse of the Weeping Woman (DVD Review)18 May, 2008 By: Matt Miller
Prebook 5/23/08; Street 6/24/08
Rated ‘R' for language.
Stars Dee Wallace, Diana Bracho, Tom Parker, Ana Patricia Rojo.
Benjamin Williams' J-ok'el is the latest American horror film based on the popular Mexican legend of La Llorona — the ghost of a woman who drowned her children and herself 500 years ago, and now roves around searching for kids to replace her own. Monterey's June 3 release The Cry covers similar ground.
J-ok'el follows George (Parker), an American who travels to southern Mexico to help his estranged mother (Wallace) find his young sister, who has gone missing along with a number of other children who have mysteriously vanished into the night.
Unable to speak Spanish and having quickly made enemies with the local police, George's only saving grace is a single mother named Carmen (Rojo) whom he befriends. Besides being able to translate for him, Carmen agrees to help George find his sister and figure out why all the local children are disappearing.
After days pass with no signs of his sister, George grows increasingly frustrated, especially when Carmen begins blaming the disappearances on the evil spirit of J-ok'el. As a stubborn American who is not very spiritual, George doesn't believe in the superstitious nonsense until he begins seeing visions of his sister and actually witnesses J-ok'el in action. Once George begins to believe in the myth, he is able to unravel the mystery behind J-ok'el and the kidnappings.
J-ok'el is a simplistic yet intense horror film that builds on a strong story and suspense by leaving a lot to the imagination, only offering glimpses of the evil spirits throughout.
The film is filled with a diverse cast of well-known American (seasoned TV actor Parker and Wallace from E.T.) and Latin (Rojo and Bracho) actors. Overall, J-ok'el proves to be a great fusion film, delivering a frightening cross-cultural ghost tale.