Cronos (1993)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Cast: Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Federico Luppi
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurettes, Photo Galleries

I had ’Cronos’ sitting on my desk for some time and eventually got around to taking a closer look at this Mexican Guillermo Del Toro film. It turned out to be a nice surprise. An atmospheric horror film with style, good characters and an intriguing plot about the Cronos device, a mystical item created by an alchemist hundreds of years ago that is rumored to lend ever-lasting life to its user. An elderly antiques dealer fins the device and uses it, and truly turns younger by the days it seems. But there is a darker side to the device also, as the man learns, and immortality is not necessarily something you do want to strive for.

’Cronos’ is presented in an anamorphic widescreen presentation on this DVD and the transfer is clean and crisp. No mars or blemishes are evident and the color reproduction is strong and vibrant. Black levels are solid, firmly rooting the image and the anamorphic transfer reveal a very good level of detail. A bit of edge-enhancement is evident but other than that, the transfer is without distracting artifacts.

The audio is presented in the movie’s original Mexican audio track, which is a mix between Spanish and English scenes. The mix is wide and engaging and makes good use of the 5.1 surround channels. With a good frequency response that naturally reproduces dialogues and sound effects, and a wide dynamic range, the track is truly coming to life on this DVD.

A number of extras, such as a commentary by director Guillermo Del Toro is also included, in which he sheds a lot of light on the production and his desire to have it done for many years before. It is a great track and Del Toro makes for an interesting track throughout, sharing insight, memories and anecdotes.

A separate commentary by the movie’s producer is also included, as well as a ’Making Of’ featurette that takes you behind the scenes and a documentary called ’Director’s Perspective.’ In many ways Del Toro repeats elements form the commentary here, but nonetheless it is a great addition that shows where he is coming from as a filmmaker and how he tried to fulfill his lifelong dream with ’Cronos.’

A collection of image galleries is also included, giving you a good glimpse at the make up designs as well as the production design in general, as well as promo images.

’Cronos’ turned out to be a great little horror film that works. Very atmospheric, eerie and at the same time thoughtful and touching, ’Cronos’ definitely deserves to be seen. Give it a spin some time.