Cronos is Guillermo del Toro's first ever full-length movie. That's probably not a big deal to most folks, but it is to geeks like me. Of the four movies I've watched so far, this one took the most liberties from the traditional vampire mythology, but that also made it the most interesting one I've watched yet.
The film opens with a prologue - in the 16th century, an alchemist invented a device that can give its user eternal life. Unfortunately, he is killed in a building collapse 400 years later. When his apartment is investigated, a dead body is found with all of its blood drained. Cut to an antiques shop, owned and operated by Jesus Gris. He discovers that an angel statue in his shop has a hollow base, and finds the device within, not knowing what it is. When he winds the device, which looks like a golden scarab beetle, he is surprised when it clamps to his hand and inserts a needle into his skin. He is worried at first by the injury, but soon realizes that he actually feels better and more youthful than he has in years. The wrinkles in his face are vanishing, and his vitality is returning. The only drawbacks? He is increasingly sensitive to sunlight, and he has an unexplainable thirst for blood.
A wealthy, but dying, businessman is seeking the device for his own use, and sends his nephew out to buy every antique archangel statue he can find. When he obtains the statue that he knows should contain the device, and finds that it is missing, he sends his nephew after Jesus to try and retrieve it.
I don't want to spoil too much of the rest of the movie, but it revolves around the lengths that the businessman will go to in order to get the device, and the lengths that Jesus will go to in order to protect both the device and his beloved granddaughter.
Two fun things:
- Ron Perlman is in this. I have now seen him act in English, French, and Spanish. He's just an Esperanto film away from hitting the multilingual actor Grand Slam!
- The antiques dealer's name is Jesus Gris. He experiences a rebirth (Jesus), but comes out of it with gray skin ("gris" is Spanish for "gray").