Sunday, July 27, 2014

Film Review: Cronos

Watched this film as I've been interested in director  Guillermo del Toro since watching Pan's Labyrinth a while back.  Cronos is del Toro's first film and is mostly narrated in Spanish though there are significant portions spoken in English from Ron Perlman's character.

The film itself is a twist on your traditional vampire tale.  Here vampirism is caused by an ancient alchemist's device in which he trapped an insect of some kind that has the ability to impart extended life upon an individual through its bite.

The twist here is not only from the basis of your typical vampire tale but in its presentation too.  There is more here to laugh at than there is to be horrified of.  The main characters are not young and beautiful as is the case in most vampire films.  Instead they are old and aging.  They aren't placed in any particularly horrifying situations despite Ron Pearlman's character being tasked with chasing down the elderly Jesus Gris (yes, we have a vampire named Jesus who also rose from the dead) and taking the mechanism that will hopfully extend the life of Pearlman's dying uncle.

Separately but just as distinct from most vampire films is the setting.  We aren't in any sort of aged or gothic landscape.  We're in a modern city and amongst just normal everyday people.

Del Toro shows off some of his later penchant for blood and body horror as the main character transforms and suffers from his new state of living.  Peeling skin, needle piercings, licking of blood off a bathroom floor, mouths sewn shut, etc.  It all works here and it leads the story forward so there's no complaint about any gratuitous nature of any of it but there isn't anything groundbraking like the filmmaker's later work.

I marginally enjoyed the film.  It was an interesting look at a very creative director's early work.  Unfortunately whether due to its foreign language nature (which typically doesn't present any issue for me) or some other factor I was never really hooked.  There is no real item to grab your interest.  Yes its a bit of a novel twist on your usual vampire tale but its not so different to carry the entire film.  Nor are the performances or characters anything that I could latch on to.  If you're a del Toro fan its worth seeing just to compare his early storytelling with where he is now.  Otherwise??  feel free to pass, its not in what I would consider a "canon" of film of any kind.

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