Indeed, Wan and Safran selected Chaves to direct “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” as well as last year’s “The Nun II.” Both films were very successful, which is why Chaves is also going to direct “The Conjuring 4.” That only further adds to the odd nature of this whole thing, as everything Chaves has done since has been part of the franchise in question. Yet, his successful feature debut which includes references to “The Conjuring” films that are impossible to ignore is officially excluded from this universe. It’s a peculiar situation, to put it lightly.

Looking back, I’m left with more questions than answers. Safran is a big-name producer and yeah, he commands a certain fee for producing a film. Warner Bros. probably wanted to keep the budget down on “La Llorona.” That said, “Annabelle” was even cheaper to make, yet he and Wan were both producers on that. It too was met with terrible reviews, but it gets to be a part of The Conjuring Universe. Chaves probably has no misgivings, as this movie launched his now very successful career. From my perspective, it’s audiences that should maybe raise an eyebrow in reflection.

This movie has an abysmal 28% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes to go with a comparably awful 35% audience rating. Attaching it loosely to a wildly popular series of horror movies is one way to drum up interest for a movie that perhaps wasn’t going to get a lot of positive word-of-mouth buzz. It’s impossible to quantify, but that “Conjuring” connection made a difference. I would further go so far as to say if this movie had been a critical success that had made closer to $200 million worldwide, we’d have a sequel that was firmly touted as part of the franchise.

Excluding “The Curse of La Llorona” from The Conjuring Universe is, at best, needlessly confusing. At worst, it’s actively deceptive. I’m not here to say which side of the line it falls on, but it stands out like a sore thumb five years removed.

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