Cronos Movie Review
In a career of so-so horror movies (Mimic, Blade II), Guillermo del Toro made his biggest impression with Cronos, an alternately sweet, funny, and creepy horrorshow the likes of which we don't often see.
This Mexican production is a twist on the vampire tale, telling us that an ancient artifact -- a mechanical, gold beetle with an insect trapped inside -- has the power to reverse the aging process if you let it suck on your blood for a while. The only catch is that you develop the taste for blood yourself... which can lead to problems if you're a mild mannered antique dealer (Frederico Luppi) who first uses the device by accident. What develops is a rivalry between the antique dealer and a wealthy man on his deathbed (Claudio Brook), who desperately seeks the device to save his own life. With the rich man's heavy (Ron Perlman), the two old men battle for the device, and the knowledge about how to properly use it.
The result is a strange oddity in the horror genre. You don't often see two gray-hairs as protagonist and antagonist, and del Toro makes the interesting choice of having his mild mannered hero slowly turn evil and back, to the point where you aren't really sure whether you're supposed to like him or not. Perlman though steals the show as the wisecracking henchman for whom nothing seems to ever go right.
In the end it's kind of a one-note movie; the bug gimmick is cute and original, but it doesn't ever quite reach the level of a classic.