<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 11, 2021



IN 2019, the Hollywood horror flick ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ was shown in local theaters. It failed to scare us. 

Recently, nominated at the recent Golden Globes for best foreign language film was “La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)”, a Guatemalan movie that is also short listed in the coming Oscars. 

Honestly, though, we think our own entry, "Mindanao", is a more moving entry.

The Guatemalan version is actually a political film disguising as a horror flick. It fails, in both counts, miserably. In Latin American folklore, La Llorona is a ghost who roams around grieving over the death of her children from drowning. 

This is the gist of the American horror flick and it’s also the core story of this Guatemalan version which mixes political injustice with the supernatural. 

The movie opens with the trial of former dictator, Enrique Monteverde (Julio Diaz, namesake of our own local actor), a character based on the real Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who took power as a result of a coup in 1982 and later indicted for genocide and other war crimes. 

Monteverde is being tried for killing members of the Mayan tribe in 1982. He is now old and lives with his wife, Carmen (Margarita Kenefic), their daughter Natalia (Sabrina de la Hoz) and their granddaughter Sara (Ayla Hurtado). 

He is convicted, but the high court overturns the judgment saying the evidence presented against him is not conclusive. 

This angers a lot of people who stage a protest right in front of the home of the Monteverdes, camping out there day and night, 24/7, chanting slogans against the former dictator and singing protest songs.

One night, Gen. Monteverde’s sleep is disturbed by the crying of a woman. He gets his gun and searches for her. 

When a woman appears, he shoots her but it turns out to be his wife, who narrowly missed death. 

Their chief mayordoma, a native woman named Valeriana (Maria Telon) from the Kaqchikel tribe, recognizes that it is caused by supernatural causes.

She lights candles and prays to drive away bad spirits, but the rest of the servants get scared and all resign.

A new girl from Valeriana’s village is hired, Alma (Maria Mercedes Coroy), with piercing eyes and long beautiful black hair. 

Sarah befriends her and learns that she has had two kids but they are now both dead. The general wakes up again at night and sees Alma in their swimming pool. 

His wife Natalia searches for him and sees him staring at Alma, with a very noticeable erection. 

Natalia tells Naomi that her father has always been attracted to tribal women and she suspects that Valeriana may actually be her husband’s bastard daughter with a native woman.

Things get more creepy. Natalia, who denies her husband’s crimes, wets her bed and has nightmares seeing herself as the mother of two Kaqchikel children who are tormented by the military and eventually drowned in a river. 

Among the protesters are people who are supposed to be already dead. 

Spirits of people who disappeared and died during the general’s regime surround their house and Natalia eventually has to do something drastic to protect their family. 

It turns out that the new maid Alma is really someone else. The film ends with the dictator’s funeral. Then another old general hears the wailing of a woman, which means the avenging “La Llorona” will soon have another victim. 

As a horror film, it’s not at all scary, simply because this is another tale of an avenging ghost. Like what we’ve written several times before, this just won’t work because we side with the ghost. 

An injustice has been done, so it’s just fair for the ghost to seek vengeance on those who have wronged him or her. So we don’t really care whatever happens to these abusive generals in the movie. 

And the movie just doesn’t work and does not even have a single jump scare. Even the casting of the actor who played the general is a mistake as he is so small and looks so weak. 

You won’t believe even for a moment that he used to be a formidable, mass-murderer of a strongman. There’s no trace of that in him at all.

One will also never take the movie seriously as something political because if its premise that the dead can come back to seek vengeance on those who have tormented and oppressed them, then there should have been millions among the Holocaust victims that could have haunted their Nazi torturers.  

Even now, our own tribal people or lumads being ruthlessly killed by the military. 

If supernatural revenge were true, then they should visit and frighten their military murderers and the greedy politicians and businessmen who want go grab their ancestral lands.