January 28, 2022
by Carla Hay
Directed by AJ Jones
Some language in Spanish with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in a fictional U.S. area called Bear Lake and briefly in Colombia, the horror film “The Curse of La Patasola” features a cast of white, African American and Latino characters representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: Two couples spend a night camping in an isolated wooded area, where they encounter a vengeful evil spirit.
Culture Audience: “The Curse of La Patasola” will appeal mainly to people who don’t mind watching mindless, boring and predictable horror movies.
“The Curse of La Patasola” is yet another unimaginative horror movie that takes place in an isolated wooded area, where people have terror inflicted on them by an evil spirit. There are absolutely no surprises in this horrendously dull, amateurish movie, which doesn’t get to any real horror until the last 20 minutes of this 84-minute film. Until then, viewers of “The Curse of La Patasola” will have to sit through scene after scene that get dragged down with monotonous repetition of two couples and their individual bickering/relationship problems.
AJ Jones, one of the co-stars of “The Curse of La Patasola,” makes his feature-film directorial debut with this movie. Jones co-wrote the very flimsy and uninteresting screenplay with Shaun Mathis. The filmmakers of “The Curse of La Patasola” seem to have little to no understanding that if you’re going to do the over-used horror concept of “terror in the woods,” you better come up with something original and well-written instead of doing a sloppy rehash of so many other low-budget horror flicks that have the exact same concept.
Even worse: The “scares” in “The Curse of La Patasola” are very few and far in between. The acting is mediocre-to-bad, while a lot of the dialogue sounds phony and awkward. And there’s barely enough in the story to fill a short film. It’s why the movie stretches out and spends most of its screen time on relationship drama between the two couples who’ve decided to take a camping trip together in this remote wooded area called Bear Lake in an unnamed U.S. state. (“The Curse of La Patasola” was actually filmed in Clermont, Florida.)
The four people on this ill-fated trip are cocky Daniel (played by AJ Jones); his mild-mannered wife Sarah (played by Gillie Jones, also known as Gillie Fitz); combative Naomi (played by Najah Bradley); and Naomi’s laid-back boyfriend James (played by Patrick R. Walker). From the beginning of the trip, when they’re driving into the woods, Daniel and Naomi start clashing and do most of the arguing.
Here’s an example of the type of dialogue between Daniel and Naomi: Daniel says, “I’m not saying I’m anti-feminist. I’m saying that some feminists take it too far. Men have screwed up some history, sure. But Eve ate the apple first.” Naomi is offended by Daniel’s comments, but she’s ready to do verbal battle with Daniel. “Overconfident mansplaining is my favorite dish to feed on,” Naomi smirks in response. Who talks like that? Only militant feminists in badly written movies.
Daniel adds, “Men are providers. Men are protectors. You know that’s true, Naomi.” Sarah and James try not to get involved in this back-and-forth battle of the sexes between Daniel and Naomi. However, Sarah and James occasionally get dragged into the squabbling between Daniel and Naomi, when Naomi scolds Sarah about being too submissive in her relationship with Daniel, and Daniel taunts James for being too much of a pushover in his relationship with Naomi.
This type of bickering goes on and on for too much of the movie. Viewers will learn nothing about the backstories of these four people except that Daniel is unemployed and has been struggling for two or three years to start his own business; Sarah has gotten tired of Daniel’s stalled career and wants Daniel to get a job so she can go to nursing school; and Daniel and James have been friends since high school, where Daniel seduced one of James’ love interests on at least one occasion.
Later in the movie, when Naomi and Sarah have some private time together and smoke some marijuana, Naomi confesses that she’s gotten bored with James because he’s too nice for her, and she’ll probably break up with him after this camping trip. Naomi makes this cringeworthy comment about her relationship with James: “I thought we’d be yin and yang, but it’s more like yin and yawn.” Naomi doesn’t know it yet, but James is going to propose marriage to her on this trip. Is this a horror movie or cheesy soap opera?
On the way to the camping area, a park ranger (played by Mark Pettit) stopped the car to warn these four travelers that there have recently been strange occurrences at Bear Lake, such as missing people and reports of terrifying noises. Around the campfire that night, Naomi tells the story she heard from her Colombian grandmother about the ghost of a vengeful woman called La Patasola. As legend has it, La Patasola was unfaithful to her husband, who caught her in the act of infidelity. He chopped off her leg and left her to die, and then he murdered their children.
As a cursed spirit, La Patasola haunts wooded areas and gets revenge on unfaithful men by murdering them while possessing the bodies of unfaithful women. She inhabits these bodies because La Patasola is really a grotesque creature in her true form. The movie’s opening scene takes place in Colombia and shows an unidentified couple during a nighttime tryst in the woods and having an obvious encounter with La Patasola. The woman (played by Daniela Gonzalez) is a wife and mother, but she’s not married to the lover who’s with her in the woods.
During an amorous moment, the man (played by Jack Young) tells her: “Your husband doesn’t love you the way I love you.” And then, he hears another woman’s voice nearby saying multiple times, “Come find me,” so he leaves his lover to investigate in the part of the woods where he thinks he hears the voice. It’s easy to guess that happens next when the man can be heard screaming in the distance. Luciana Faulhaber has the movie’s role of La Patasola, which basically just has her walking around in a white dress and trying to look mysterious. Any monster visual effects in the movie just aren’t very impressive.
It’s also very easy to predict who will be the cheating partners on this camping trip and everything that happens after that. And if it isn’t obvious enough, the trailer for “The Curse of La Patasola” essentially gives away the movie’s entire stale plot, except for some of the gruesome scenes. And that’s why watching “The Curse of La Patasola” is ultimately a complete waste of time.
Vertical Entertainment released “The Curse of La Patasola” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on January 14, 2022.