Cronos (1993)

cronos poster 1993 movie guillermo del toro
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice looking, well acted film

Story needs a bit of work and balance

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cronos

Studio:  Prime Films S. L.

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama

Release Date(s):  May 3, 1993 (Cannes)/December 3, 1993 (Mexico)

MPAA Rating:  R

cronos movie jesus gris federico luppi tamara shanath

What a weird, creepy, and delicate looking antique…let’s play with it!

An alchemist creates a device with the power to extend life at a cost.  Hundreds of years later when the scientist dies, his creation is lost in time.  When an antique dealer named Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi) buys an angel for his store, he and his granddaughter Aurora (Tamara Shanath) discover the alchemist’s secret hidden inside.  Unfortunately, an underworld businessman named Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) is also searching for the device with his thuggish nephew Angel (Ron Perlman).  Jesús has been bitten by the Cronos…and the horror is beginning!

Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, Cronos is a horror-vampire mash-up Mexican film.  The first feature of del Toro, the film was released at Cannes and received positive reviews.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #551).

Like many, I didn’t see Cronos until after Guillermo del Toro took off, so I can’t say “oh, I remember” on the film (I did see Mimic in the theater).  Watching it after the rise of Guillermo, it isn’t his strongest work, but you can see potential in the film.

cronos federico luppi licking blood off floor vampire

I bet a vampire’s first question is “Is this floor clean enough to lick blood off of?”

First films always feel a bit more raw and personal.  This is either a positive effect or a negative effect.  Here, the story still feels like it needs finessing and expanding.  It feels like everything is there in Cronos, but it just needs the extra push to get it over the top.  Things like the angel metaphors and religion feel like they could have been developed and evolved just a bit more to make it a more powerful story.

The cast cannot be faulted.  Argentine actor Federico Luppi is good as the man who is both excited and horrified by what is happening to his body.  Claudio Brook’s Dieter de la Guardia could have been expanded more as a character, but Ron Perlman is always entertaining as his struggling expat nephew Angel.  I particularly like Jesús Gris’s kind of creepy granddaughter Aurora who isn’t terrified by what is happening to her grandfather.  The Tito the Coroner character played by Daniel Giménez Cacho also appears in 2010’s We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay).

cronos ending federico luppi

No…I’m cool. It’s just a flesh wound

Where Guillermo del Toro shows the most potential in this film is the visuals.  The style of shooting and the understanding of the gothic horror of the situation gives the film more weight.  Vampire stories have been done multiple times and in 1993, the “modern” vampire was just coming into popularity with new ways of exploring the old creature…Cronos definitely is a different take.

Cronos may not be my favorite Guillermo del Toro movie, but it is worth seeing.  It is an interesting and classic type of horror movie mixed with a crime drama.  I think the movie with just slightly more tweaking would have propelled Guillermo into the spotlight even earlier…but allowing himself to grow maybe was a better way for him to go.  Guillermo del Toro followed Cronos with Mimic in 1997.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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