The Curse of La Patasola begins with a prolog set somewhere in 19th century Columbia. A couple sneak off into the woods unseen. Or so they think. A voice hidden in the woods calls out to them. The woman smartly tells her companion they should leave. He, of course, goes after the unseen speaker. Cue screaming and sounds of unseen violence. Remember, and get used to, that unseen part.
In the present day we’re introduced to two couples, Daniel (AJ Jones, Legends 2 A Halloween Tal ) and his wife Sarah (Gillie Jones, The Body Sculptor), Naomi (Najah Bradley, Black Box) and her boyfriend James (Patrick R. Walker, Along Came the Devil, I Wrote This for You). Daniel and Naomi’s argument over feminism, his defense of men involves Eve and the apple, is interrupted when the reach the park where they’re going to camp. The ranger (Mark Pettit, They Cloned Tyrone, Welcome to Whispering Pines) warns them about missing people, but Daniel brushes him, Sarah and James off.
Director/star AJ Jones and co-writer Shaun Mathis (Vanity Vixens, The Plug) centered their film around La Patasola, a creature from a South American folktale that hasn’t, as far as I know, been used on screen before. Sadly, it’s the only original thing about The Curse of La Patasola.
We have the squabbling characters that I can’t imagine could actually be friends. James has a ring and plans to propose. Naomi is an outspoken black woman. Daniel is the men should run everything type who happens to be unemployed and living off his wife’s paycheck. The ranger with a warning. And that’s just in the first fifteen minutes.
To cap it off they sit around the fire and tell ghost stories. Which is how we learn about La Patasola (Luciana Faulhaber, The Girl Who Invented Kissing, Pearl) a beautiful woman who was caught cheating by her husband. He cut off her leg and killed their kids in front of her. Now she haunts woodlands looking for cheaters. She’s a reverse La Llorna, which may explain why The Curse of La Patasola came out so close after The Legend of La Llorona.
And I almost forgot, saying her name can make her appear.
Let’s face it though, we could forgive all the clichés if The Curse of La Patasola was scary and/or had a cool looking creature. Unfortunately it has next to no scares, and remember what I said earlier about unseen? The creature is either kept off screen or the scenes are too dark to make much out until the last few minutes, at which point you’ll understand why they kept it hidden.
Instead The Curse of La Patasola gives us nearly endless dialogue, mostly related to the couple’s relationship issues. The horror is limited to the occasional “Did you hear that?” moment and just about everything that comes out of Daniel’s mouth. He is easily one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve seen on screen in the last few years. Which only makes the film’s attempt at a plot twist both predicable and laughable.
In the final act when The Curse of La Patasola remembers that it’s supposed to be a horror movie it adds insult to injury by ignoring all the lore about La Patasola. It was obvious from the start that they would have to for the film to work, but no explanation is ever given.
The Curse of La Patasola does get a few things right. The cast do manage to generate the awkwardness of a friend’s weekend gone horribly wrong. I’d rather they were creating the fear of a camping trip turned deadly, but I’ll take what I can get.
The biggest shock that The Curse of La Patasola delivers is that distributor Vertical Entertainment actually managed to find theaters that would screen the film. It opened on January 14th in nineteen theaters as well as on VOD and Digital platforms. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.