Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 51


Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,962
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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 device -- which resembles an ornate, gilded mechanical beetle -- houses an immortal parasite which will grant eternal life to its host. Naturally, there is a terrible price for this gift, which Gris is doomed to discover after the object anchors itself to his body. He begins to develop an extreme aversion to daylight, as well as an agonizing thirst for human blood. To compound matters, dying millionaire Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) has learned of the device's existence -- thanks to an occult tome obtained from its inventor -- and wishes to obtain it for his own use. To this end he employs his vain, brutish nephew Angel (Ron Perlman) to retrieve it for him. Angel's techniques are less than subtle, and he inevitably winds up killing Gris in his futile search for the artifact... but death is not permanent for the host of the Cronos, and he rises from the mortuary slab to reunite with the long-suffering Aurora. Together they confront de la Guardia and his nephew one last time, hoping to find a way to reverse the horrible process before Gris suffers the same monstrous fate as the device's creator. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Cronos

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (5)

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

    Oct 5, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt.

    Oct 5, 2013 | Full Review…
  • While the film's first half entices with its secrets, the second half falls into a predictable narrative that refuses to even suggest possibilities.

    Oct 5, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You have to admire the style, sincerity, and overall sense of craft even if you don't fancy the comic-book gore.

    Sep 24, 2007 | Full Review…
  • A most startling genre piece: tender, imaginative and wholly its own.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • A very stylish and sophisticated Mexican variation on some age-old themes.

    Aug 30, 2004

Audience Reviews for Cronos

  • Dec 22, 2017
    Del Toro's feature debut may not be exactly a classic but is a smart horror film that can be quite disturbing and unpredictable in the way it uses a lot of style and gore to create a curious parallel between a man's obsession with being young and drug addiction.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2017
    Guillermo proved he had what it takes to be a good director in his debut feature. Cronos is a horror film about an ancient device that grants immortality to the owner at the cost of their humanity. One dying man seeks to obtain this device no matter what the cost and many unfortunate events occurred. It's a little bit slow and the storyline was rather bizarre,nevertheless it was violent and gory with surprising star Ron Perlman playing the antagonist.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2014
    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 r Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2013
    Bizarre and creepy spin on the vampire mythos, del Toro's debut is filled with superb little details but I found the central story un-engaging and rather too self-contained. The interest lies more in spotting motifs that have since recurred in del Toro's other, more successful films.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer

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