In 1535, an alchemist builds an extraordinary mechanism encapsulated into a small golden device. The invention, designed to convey eternal life to its owner, survives its maker until 1997 when it shows up to an antiquarian. Fascinated with the strange device, Gris doesn't note that there's more than one person looking for it. The promise of eternal life has become an obsession to old and sick Mr. De la Guardia. He and his nephew will do anything to get the "Chronos Invention".
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
. Starring: Federico Luppi
, Ron Perlman
, Claudio Brook
, Margarita Isabel
, Tamara Shanath
, Daniel Giménez Cacho
, Mario Iván Martínez
, Farnesio de Bernal
, Juan Carlos Colombo
, Jorge Martínez de Hoyos
, Luis Rodríguez
, Javier Álvarez
, Gerardo Moscoso
. Music by: Javier Álvarez
Cronos is the first feature length film by Guillermo del Toro. I checked it out as part of the Criterion collection available on Hulu for instant viewing. It's his first film so my expectations were not set very high. Overall, I would say that I was pleasantly surprised by del Toro's take on the classic vampire story. It certainly demonstrates his unique vision and cinematic style even at this early stage of his career.
Plot wise the film introduces us to Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) an elderly antiques dealer in Mexico and his lovely granddaughter Aurora (Tamara Shanath). Jesus comes into possession of an antique Scarab like device that he finds hidden in a statue. When Jesus accidentally cuts himself with the golden cronos device, he soon discovers that the device has granted him with eternal life but at a terrible price. Jesus' struggles with his vampirism all while trying to keep his granddaughter safe provide the conflict in the film. Other people lust after the device so they can gain its life giving powers. De La Guardia an evil industrialist wants the device so he can become a vampire and live forever. To achieve this end he sends his toadie nephew Angel de la Guardia (Ron Pearlman) to obtain it for him by any means necessary.
The film was shot on a small budget in Mexico and you can see some of the low production values. That being said del Toro does present an interesting twist on the vampire legend and the characters are quite memorable. Jesus' struggle with his affliction and the love of his granddaughter Aurora is quite poignant. While not a classic gory vampire story this has enough thrills and dark comedy to satisfy most viewers. I especially enjoyed the performances of the granddaughter Aurora (Tamara Shanath) and the grandfather Jesus (Federico Luppi).
For lovers of horror films and those interested in seeing the early work of del Toro I would highly recommend checking out this film. You can see the groundwork for his later work like Pans Labyrinth (2006) being laid out. As a bonus check out Welcome to Bleak House a ten minute documentary attached to this film. It provides an inside look at del Toro's lair where he gains inspiration and conducts his work. It's filled with super creepy and weird oddities, it will leave you saying "wow." I do not think you will be disappointed in this film.
Review by ThreeGuysOneMovie from the Internet Movie Database.