A promotion for the new movie “The Curse of La Llorona” using traditional Mexican healers for “spiritual cleansings” before screenings is drawing strong criticism from healers and scholars.

Critics say the movie, released Friday, is based on a Mexican folktale that has nothing to do with healers known as curanderos. They say the promotion exploits traditional healing practices used by Mexicans and Mexican Americans just to sell a film.

San Diego-based curandera Grace Sesma says social media posts showing curanderos performing supposed cleansings before previews are offensive. Virginia Commonwealth University religious scholar Andrew Chesnut called the promotion “reprehensible.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, left, and Linda Cardellini in a scene from
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, left, and Linda Cardellini in a scene from “The Curse of La Llorona. (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Warner Bros. declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

“The Curse of La Llorona,” starring Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz, centers on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, a crying female spirit who takes children.