Luppi, an elderly antiques dealer, discovers a gold gizmo which a mysterious alchemist had hidden inside a statue centuries before. The old man becomes immortal, his body undergoes a bizarre transformation, and he develops a thirst for blood. Resisting the efforts of dying businessman Brook and his henchman Perlman to get hold of the so-called Cronos device (it has strange body-piercing abilities), Luppi struggles to hold on to his humanity even beyond the grave. Del Toro gives an intriguing spin to the time-honoured vampire pic. Out goes gratuitous blood letting, in comes dry wit, a sombre pace and a substantial emotional kick, as Luppi seeks to maintain the powerful bond with his wife and young granddaughter, even though he looks, well, like something from a horror movie. A most startling genre piece: tender, imaginative and wholly its own.