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Cry, The: La Llorona (DVD Review)

27 Apr, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Prebook 4/29/08; Street 6/3/08
$24.95 DVD
Rated ‘R' for disturbing violent images & some language.
Stars Adriana Dominguez, Christian Camargo, Carlos Leon, Miriam Colón.

Based on the legend of La Llorona (The Crying Woman) that has haunted generations of Latin Americans for more than 500 years, The Cry is an absorbing, intense, provocative and deeply disturbing film.

The movie attempts to straddle two styles of filmmaking that, unfortunately, do not meet frequently enough: the ambitious, intelligent, artistically challenging feature and the downright creepy horror flick.

While to some the results are wildly effective, impressive and satisfying on all counts, the film still might confound conventional, conservative audiences looking for a traditional scary movie and might prove to be just too dark and unpleasant to viewers who are drawn in by its ample style.

The story of La Llorona that has been passed down through the ages involves a woman who murders her own children to spite her unfaithful husband. The plot shifts its attention between two New York City detectives looking into a rash of child disappearances, a single mother who is having troubling visions of kids in peril, and a mother who claims that she was mysteriously and inexplicably compelled to kill her infant.

The storylines gradually intertwine. The officers' Hispanic heritage begins to inform their investigation, and their personal responses to the mythic child killer surface — reactions that range from the doubt of one of them to the slowly unfolding wave of realization in the other, himself a grieving father.

With style, mood and atmosphere to spare, The Cry is agonizing but oddly hypnotic despite focusing on a subject matter that is hard to watch.

Bonus features include a fascinating statement from the director that details her reasons for making the film, and another documentary segment that examines the historical legend. Watching both features after screening the film only adds to the already considerable creepiness.

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