The Cronos Movie is an extremely unconventional take on the entire vampire idea, while maintaining true to the concepts and philosophical ramifications of drinking blood for eternal life and the burdens of immortality.
The first of writer Guillermo del Toro's directorial efforts, Cronos demonstrates a unique vision on an ancient myth and demonstrating El Toro as a voice and vision worth heeding and following for years to come.
In the 1500's the alchemist Uberto Fulcanelli crafted a mechanism, a golden scarab, capable of giving eternal life to the wielder. Fleeing the fires of the inquisition, the alchemist hid unnoticed from the world in Veracruz Mexico until his death centuries later.
Decades later, kindly, elderly antiques dealer Jesus Gris (Frederico Luppi) uncovers the device hidden within a statue. As Jesus examines the strange scarab, the mechanical device suddenly animates, sprouting gripping legs, which latch onto Jesus and inserts a needle into his skin, painfully injecting him with a strange solution.
In the days that follow, Jesus is startled to find himself younger, more vibrant and vigorous. His hair, libido, energy and strength all return with a vengeance, but with it comes accompanied an ever increasing thirst for lots of blood.
As Jesus succumbs slowly to the scarab’s dark designs, he also finds himself hunted by others seeking the device’s gifts. There are many others who would stop at nothing to obtain the scarab’s golden key to immortality, and will not hesitate to pay the device’s price of blood.
As forces array against him and his young granddaughter, Jesus must determine the worth of lives, blood, and discern the true costs of immortality. A stylish and intelligent film, The Cronos Movie relies more upon atmosphere, cerebral themes, and building dread than the vast majority of films labeled "horror".
Cronos is also an impressive accomplishment for how much it manages to achieve on a limited budget, the special effects of the mechanical scarab alone are intricate and quite impressive, done in-house by El Toro’s own now-defunct FX company “Necropia”. The acting is also phenomenal across the board, featuring an early role by Ron Perlman, who was later tapped by El Toro to play the titular Hellboy, and the young actress playing granddaughter Aurora is an amazing find.
On the whole, The Cronos Movie is an exceptional film and mandatory viewing for any interested in a refreshing take on the vampire legend, or for any simply seeking a thoughtful and inventive horror film.
"I may not be human but I'm a man!" -- Edward Cullen, Twilight