Cronos (1994)



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

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

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


as Jesus Gris

as Angel de la Guardia

as Dieter de la Guardia

as Mercedes Gris

as Aurora Gris

as Funeral Director

as Tango Student
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cronos

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Critic Reviews for Cronos

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10)

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

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.

Alex roy

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

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