Fans of the modern vampire craze may find Cronos a little hard to swallow. There’s not an awful lot of bloodletting going on, and the action is almost not existent. Cronos you see isn’t some flight of fancy – well, it is in it’s own way – but rather an old school look at some eternal questions.
The film starts off with a voiced over introduction where we learn about an old alchemist who in 1535 invents a small device that gives him eternal life. Sadly – at least for the old alchemist – some 400 years later he’s killed by a collapsing building and the unfortunate piercing of this heart.
An old antiques dealer buys his estate seeing as there is no one left to inherit in, and accidentally finds the alchemist’s golden scarab like device that granted him the dream of (almost) eternal life and whilst fiddling with it accidentally activates it, causing the device to pierce his skin and thus giving him eternal life.
Of course, the old antique dealer isn’t the only player in this story, a rich industrialist has been searching for the device for some time, hoping to find it before he goes to meet his maker.
del Toro slowly – almost painfully so – ratchets up the intensity of this tale of two very different men – one who is happy with life and is granted the chance for eternal life and the other who so badly wants to hang onto life that he will kill for it.
The film is very dark – literally. It’s a film done relatively cheaply, and a few years ago now, but is one that weaves a dark spell on you as del Toro draws you in through the anguish of both the lead characters and shows us probably a more realistic take on the vampire genre than modern directors would dare to.
It’s well worth sitting through this early nineties classic, especially if you’re sick and tired of the modern fixation with young, beautiful and sometimes sparkly vampires.
Reviewed by: Jonathan