Torrent Link: http://www.mininova.org/tor/1293058
Cronos was made in 1993 and still represents one of the most original takes on the vampire genre in recent years.
The film, Guillermo Del Toro’s third film, tells the story of Jesus Gris, an antique seller, who happens upon a golden scarab hidden in the base of a statue of an archangel. When the scarab, an invention of a 15th century alchemist, pierces his hand, Jesus finds himself changing: he has more energy, appears younger and begins to have problems with the brightness of the sun. Also he can’t stop himself allowing the scarab to pierce him.
Throughout he is visited by a non-made up Ron Perlman (Hell Boy). Perlman plays the nephew of a dying millionaire who has managed to track down the scarab and wants it for himself thus beginning a game of cat and mouse that provides much of the film’s tension.
That the film is an earlier example of Del Toro’s work is evident. In 1993 he has yet to win the critical acclaim and independence he fought so hard for after the disaster that was Mimic. Yet you can see his trademark craft in putting Cronos together, the layers of subtext, the idea that humanity is the monster - the real villains in this film are all humans - and the use of mythology to explore human themes of addiction, family and death. For such a short film (only ninety minutes) it really does pack in a whole lot of story.
The visual effects do date the film slightly as does the quality of the film print from which the DVD was mastered but this doesn’t really distract from what’s going on. Del Toro’s skill as a make up designer (his early career was spent doing this) are overall what keeps the effects in the game and more than makes up for the absence of CGI or modern prosthetics.
The cast was and is largely unknown to me. However the performances from the entire cast were very good but two deserve mention in particular. Tamara Shanath, who plays Aurora, turns in a wonderfully nuanced performance for such a young actress and provides the film with it’s heart as the film’s protagonist, Jesus, attempts to hide his addiction from her. The other is that of Perlman who delivers a brilliantly three dimensional performance as the vain, long suffering, nephew of millionaire De la Guardia. A chilling and intelligent performance.
There’s a lot to like here. This is smart horror delivered in a slick movie that’s not afraid to make you laugh, cry or scream. Most likely all three. I recommend it without reservation.