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Cronos (1994)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 42
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 10
Fresh: 8
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 12,094



Movie Info

This surreal variant on the classic vampire tale is the directorial debut of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who garnered international acclaim and several awards. The film tells the story of elderly antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi, in a role originally written for Max Von Sydow) who, with his eight-year-old granddaughter Aurora (Tamara Shanath), discovers an ancient artifact secreted within a statue obtained from the estate of a 16th-century alchemist. Unbeknownst to Gris, the … More

Drama , Horror , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Guillermo del Toro
In Theaters:
Oct 26, 1994


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Critic Reviews for Cronos

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (5) | DVD (19)

Guillermo del Toro's feature debut is an arch twist on the vampire tale.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

While the film's first half entices with its secrets, the second half falls into a predictable narrative that refuses to even suggest possibilities.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

You have to admire the style, sincerity, and overall sense of craft even if you don't fancy the comic-book gore.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A most startling genre piece: tender, imaginative and wholly its own.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A very stylish and sophisticated Mexican variation on some age-old themes.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A compelling, complex and wonderfully atmospheric film from Mexican director Guillermo del Toro that is as much about religion and the nature of cinema as it is a horror story.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Radio Times

Stylishly dusted with musty mysticism, Cronos never sinks its teeth to the bone, but despite some grumbling plot-cogs, del Toro's hallmarks -- tragic heart, splatty body horror, prickly insect-fear -- all gestate wickedly.

Full Review… | October 8, 2012
Total Film

A charming horror movie, if such a thing is possible.

Full Review… | October 17, 2011

A low-budget horror/fantasy with some rough edges, Cronos reveals the dark genius of Guillermo del Toro's fecund mind.

Full Review… | August 29, 2011
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Many of the aesthetic qualities and thematic devices that Mexican director Guillermo del Toro would employ in later movies are already on the boil in his debut feature, Cronos.

Full Review… | January 31, 2011

Del Toro conjures up a delightfully potent atmosphere and motion for it, born no doubt of a real appreciation for such things.

Full Review… | January 21, 2011
Combustible Celluloid

Guillermo del Toro says, "Cronos is an exploded view of my brain."

Full Review… | December 10, 2010
Slant Magazine

The truly child-bound perspectives of The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth are still to come, though Aurora has flights of del Torian wonder.

Full Review… | December 7, 2010
Bright Lights Film Journal

... a weird, heady alchemic brew of antiquated clockwork mechanism, mutant organisms, demented villains driven by a greed for youth...

Full Review… | December 7, 2010
Parallax View

A beautifully creepy, hypnotic horror-thriller that paints a vivid picture of why del Toro is such a beloved, wonderfully haunting filmmaker today.

Full Review… | December 4, 2010

This is a wonderfully baroque, gleeful subversion of the days of Hammer. A unique, terrifying mini-masterpiece.

Full Review… | October 20, 2009
Empire Magazine

He also makes the refreshing choice of having the monster be all too human and fragile... Cronos is a stylish and innovative take on the familiar vampire movie.

Full Review… | July 10, 2008

Cronos, at $2 million, was one of Mexico's most expensive motion pictures ever, the cost reflected not so much by epic scope and visuals as in polished production values and careful design.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

With this stylish horor film, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro makes a splashy feature debut that impresses narratively as well as technically.

Full Review… | June 4, 2007

Del Toro's first mini-masterpiece.

April 2, 2005

Audience Reviews for Cronos


Terrific vampire film, Cronos is a horrifying take on the genre, one that director Guillermo del Toro takes on with great confidence. This is a terrifying horror film one that has a tense, eerie atmosphere, which adds to the disturbing aspect of the film. With that being said, it only adds to the terror of the film, and you have a sense of fear throughout. The story is engaging and well thought out. The film will surely please genre fans, and del Toro crafts one of the most memorable vampire films of the 90's. If you want a more traditional vampire film to watch, Cronos more than delivers. This is a thrilling horror film, one that is chilling from start to finish. Cronos is the type of vampire film that adds to the consistency of quality vampire films. Cronos is a fine picture from del Toro, and he makes a terrific feature that continues the tradition of terrifying, memorable vampire films. del Toro has always had a great imagination when it came to making great horror films, and Cronos is proof of that. With a great story, good cast and intense chills. Cronos is a memorable horror film that is a must watch for genre fans. del Toro has delivered a stunning work that makes for a memorable horror film going experience. Cronos has plenty of atmosphere to create its memorable chills. If you love a good vampire flick, Cronos is yet another stunning picture that relies on a great story, and powerful visuals to make for a great film.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Endlessly imaginative.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


For his directorial debut, then 28 year-old Guillermo del Toro opted for a surreal, darkly comedic take on the vampire myth.

Not only did this cement del Toro as a director to watch, and serve as a great stand alone piece of work, it also set forth many of the elements that would become his trademarks, namely great use of symbolism (often religious in nature), motifs involving machinery/gears and insects, expressive use of lighting (interplay between light and dark), and a tendency towards the gothic, among other things.

The plot revolves around a kind old antiques dealer whose relationship with his much younger wife is on the downward slope. He has a much better rapport with his granddaughter, which really doesn't set well with grandmother. One day our protagonist happens upon a mysterious scarab like device which attacks him, and essentially turns him into a vampire of sorts. It'll make more sense when you see it. Anyways, on top of that, this crude American thug comes around looking for the device, as it is sought by his equally trashy industrialist uncle. This all leads to a big mix of the quest for immortality a la the Last Crusade et al with a unique riff on the vampire mythos.

This is a really terrific film. It's surprising how polished and realized this is, especially for a feature debut. It's a bit more darkly humorous than I was first expecting, but that's fine. It's still plenty dark and twisted, and the humor actually works fairly well. We get some great performances, interesting characters and situations, and some really neat ideas and cool special effects. Things kinda feel la little rushed towards the end, like it begins to run out of steam and they weren't totally sure how to end it, but even then, the film is still quite enjoyable and good.

Federico Luppi is quite good as the protagonist Jesus Gris, but for me, the real highlight was seeing Ron Perlman as the crude American thug Angel de la Guardia. This was the first of many collaborations between him and Guillermo, and he's a real scene stealing delight here, and makes for a memorable antagonist. Besides some good performances there's also some really good music, a great look, and excellent cinematography.

I highly recommend this, for del Toro fans, horror comedy fans, and people who appreciate quasi artsy but not totally pretentious stuff. Heck, if you dig off beat stuff, this will satisfy, and of course, it works well for those who like things related to vampirism. I highly recommend the Criterion edition, as the booklet for it has some splendid essays and supplemental material, most notably some of del Toro's original notes for the movie and character bios.

Definitely check this out, it's quite a treat.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Horror is not a known for being a unique genre. It has many rip-offs and imitators, but that being said, many "imitators" and "rip-offs" were better than their respective counterparts (case and point "It! The Terror From Beyond Space" vs. "Alien"). "Cronos" is unique in the sense that it has retooled an ancient horror idea (and ancient horror creature, for that matter) into something very different than what you're used to. I won't say what creature makes an eventual appearance in this film, it's one of the cooler moments this film has to offer. Highly recommended, with some sick creature effects mixed with some truly powerful performances and moments that won't be leaving your head anytime soon.

Jacob Ethington
Jacob Ethington

Super Reviewer

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