In 1536, in Veracruz, Mexico, during the Inquisition, an alchemist builds a mysterious and sophisticated device named Cronos to provide eternal life to the owner. In the present days, the antiques dealer Jesus Gris finds Cronos hidden inside an ancient statue while cleaning it with his granddaughter Aurora. He accidentally triggers the device and soon his wife Mercedes and he note that he has a younger appearance. Out of the blue, the stranger Angel de la Guardia visits Gris's shop and buys the old statue. On the next day, Gris finds his shop trashed and Angel's card on the floor. He pays a visit to Angel that introduces him to the eccentric millionaire De la Guardia that explains the healing power and the eternal life given by Cronos. Angel is sent by De la Guardia to hunt down Gris to get Cronos no matter the costs. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I can't think of many 90's films that will be remembered as classics of the horror genre, this film is an exception.
When you think of Mexican horror, you no doubt think of the El Santo Vs. the Aztec Mummy type films made in the 60s, don't get me wrong, I like them too. In interviews, director Guillermo Del Toro has said that his influences come more from American and British horror (such as the classic Universal and Hammer horror films) than from Mexico's horror tradition. Still, the film does have a distinctly Mexican sensibility, especially with it's abundance of Catholic imagery.
First time director Del Toro, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (who would go on to do great work for Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, among oth ers), and production designer Tolita Figuero create a very unique, interesting look for the film.
All of the actors are great, especially veteran Argentinian actor Federico Luppi, who plays the main character Jesus Gris, and Luis Bunuel's favorite Mexican actor Claudio Brook, who plays Dieter De La Guardia. What really makes the film for me is it's quirky sense of humor and odd characterizations, I found scenes toward the middle of the film to be hilarious. The effective, subtle, score by Javier Alvarez also adds to the mood of the film.
The film also manages to be a very different kind of vampire story than usual, It makes me think a little bit of the "Wurdulak" segment of the great Mario Bava's film Black Sabbath. Vampire films of late have become very tiresome, it's nice to see someone take a different approach.
I think Guillermo Del Toro is a talent to watch for.
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