Finding a great horror film featuring vampires is tough, especially if you’re looking for a recent film. Vampires don’t appear to have much loyalty to this genre because they continue to pop up in both action and teen romance films. This migration pattern makes it all the more important to unearth great vampire horror and bring it to our readers’ attention. Cronos, released in 1993 and written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, is the story of a device that turns the owner into a vampire.
Cronos is a beautiful film... a wonderful, beautiful film. It is well-written, well-shot and the score is fantastic. The film is good by non-horror standards, which is rare. Spoken in a mixture of Spanish and English, this film brings to life Jesus, an old antique shop owner with an adorable granddaughter, Aurora. Jesus discovers the cronos device and unknowingly activates it. The exact details on how the device works are confusing, but it’s implied there is an insect involved and one must keep using the device to maintain immortality. When Jesus becomes a vampire, several bits of vampiric folklore appear, such as turning a gray shade, not being able to walk in the sun and an extreme thirst for blood. The story is incredibly captivating as the viewer follows Jesus as he struggles with his new identity. His relationship with Aurora is adorable and she is the only one who knows he’s become a vampire. Obviously, there’s more to this film that I’m not touching on, but suffice to say, it’s a beautiful adventure.
The downside to Cronos is it’s just not scary. As you know, saving horror requires, well, horror. It’s not enough to be a great film, something has to be a great horror film. This movie is great, but it’s not scary. Jesus is a struggling vampire who has no clue what’s happened to him. The movie is often light-hearted and comedic, rather than horrifying. Aside from a gross scene involving licking blood from a public restroom floor, this movie doesn’t pack a punch of gore or fear.
If only this film was a bit less endearing and more scary, I could have ranked it higher. It is a great movie, though, and worth a watch. It adds a facet and dimension to vampires the island hasn’t really seen before. And while Jesus doesn’t stand a chance against other vampires or creatures, he’s still valuable to the genre.
If you liked Cronos, you might also like Let the Right One In, Let Me In and Dracula.