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
Guillermo del Toro met with Universal (who later bought out the film's U.S. distributor, October Films) in late '93, where they told him they wanted to buy the rights to this film so they could remake it. del Toro's response was "Who wants to see Jack Lemmon lick blood off a bathroom floor?". See more »
When Jesús searches for Aurora after she has taken the Cronos, as he walks through two doors, he stops. Behind him, reflected in the glass of the door, is crew and equipment. See more »
Angel de la Guardia:
Senor Gris. You may continue the game. After all, you have the toy. But I'm keeping the instructions, and I'm open all night.
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Dedicated to the memory of Josefina Camberos See more »
An interesting, original and engaging retelling of a classic story!
Guillermo Del Toro's stylish and original take on the vampire legend is one of the most strangely overlooked and underrated films of the 1990's. It's films like this that make me want to watch films - films that are fresh, unpredictable and so rich in symbolism that it has leaves lots of room for discussion. Del Toro was little more than an amateur director at the time this made, but in spite of that he's more than given the professionals a run for their money. Every scene is adeptly filmed, and the way that Del Toro makes contrasts between locations and the two central families is a pleasure to observe. The way that the film switches language from English to Spanish and back again is indicative of the fact that this is a rich tapestry of contradictions and one that makes intelligent comments on many subjects, from obvious ones such as addiction, to more concealed ones, such as a commentary on family; stemming from the way that the roles of child and parent become reversed when our hero becomes afflicted with the vampire-like curse.
For the story, Del Toro has taken the classic vampire theme and mixed it with essences of mechanics and the human lust of being able to live forever. The story follows Jesús Gris, an antique dealer that lives with his granddaughter Aurora and wife Mercedes. One day, our hero happens upon a mechanical scarab that latches itself onto his palm, causing him to bleed. Jesús slowly gets addicted to the mystical scarab, but there's someone else that wants it and will stop at nothing to get it. The mythology of the scarab is told in a great opening sequence that sets the viewer up for an intriguing and original horror story. The film retains the intrigue that it sets up in it's intro for the duration, and Del Toro ensures that his audience is always left guessing and wanting to see what comes next. The film works due to interesting characters that the audience is able to feel for, and is constantly interesting by the way that Del Toro handles the contrasts that the story presents.
On the whole, this is a fabulous horror story that takes an existing legend and makes it it's own. This is exactly the sort of film that cinema needs more of; and it's not one that film fans will want to miss. Highly recommended viewing.
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