The Curse of La Patasola digs itself into a hole as soon as the opening credits finish. Daniel (AJ Jones) is driving while having an argument with someone. It is definitely not his wife Sarah (Gillie Fitz) who is scrolling through her phone. As the disembodied voice responds to everything Daniel says, things become more confusing. Is Daniel talking back to a podcast? Is he practicing lines for a play he is about to star in?
When James (Patrick R. Walker) peaks his head from the back, it makes a little more sense, even if he sounds nothing like the person Daniel was having a back and forth with. Finally the big reveal; Naomi (Najah Bradley) is finally shown as the mystery debater.
Why all the mystery? Aside from bad editing, there seems to be no reason for it. This is just the first of many times The Curse of La Patasola will confuse, frustrate, and annoy audiences. The film is about two couples who go on a weekend camping trip. The first night, Naomi tells them about La Patasola, a creature from Columbian folklore that preys on those who have been unfaithful to their partners. It is a a vampire, siren, Wailing Woman mix that tries to disprove you cannot have too much of a bad thing.
The movie is constantly tripping itself up. Daniel and Naomi open The Curse of La Patasola arguing and continue to do so whenever they are on screen together. His faux machismo and her dime store feminism become unbearable within the first five minutes. It is supposed to be foreshadowing, but it is grating and near unwatchable.
The other characters are not any better. Sarah is supposed to be meek, but just comes off as whiny. It is hard to tell what The Curse of La Patasola wants to do with James, but this inconsistency usually equates to having no personality. This ends up making him the best character, by far.
The Curse of La Patasola does not seem to think film is a visual medium. A big turning point in the movie is when someone is rejected by their partner. It is is humiliating, embarrassing, and completely disrespectful. At least, that is what everyone says. What exactly happened? Who knows? Not only is the moment never shown, it is never even described.
This happens so many times that it is hard not to wonder whether the filmmakers did it intentionally. It is not uncommon for movies not to show a horrific scene and leave it up to the imaginations of those watching. In some cases, it can lead to an iconic scene.
As The Curse of La Patasola slogs on, it is clear this is not the case. Nothing is ever shown and when it actually is, it is too dark to see anything. By the end, when the film is contradicting its own lore, it does not even matter. The movie will have already lost the audience.
The Curse of La Patasola comes to theaters and VOD January 14
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