TIMECRIMES Spanish poster
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"Bad things happen all the time."

directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo, Juan Inciarte, Miguel Ángel Poo, Libby Brien, Philip Hersh

choice dialogue:

"Makes no sense..."

- Hector breaks the fourth wall.

slash with panache?

[review by Joseph Henson]

LOS CRONOCRIMENES is a clever twist on the 'giallo' and the 'stalker in the woods' film, so much in fact that it's neither, even though it appears to be both.

While moving into a new home with his wife one day, Hector (Karra Elejalde) receives a phone call from someone who remains silent on the other end of the line. Trying to call the number on his caller identification window, he hears a recorded message saying he's reached a restricted line. Later, relaxing out in the yard with a pair of binoculars, Hector spies a strange radio tower looming over the trees, and a girl in the forest who begins to slowly peel away her clothing. Hector's curiosity gets the better of him, and he wanders off to investigate. He finds the girl, completely naked and passed out against a large rock. Suddenly, someone stabs him in the arm with a pair of scissors and begins chasing him through the woods. Fleeing his attacker, Hector happens upon an isolated building. Looking for help, he breaks a window and enters the premises, and discovers a two-way radio. The voice on the other end of the line alerts him that there are security cameras along the compound, and that his attacker, a man in a black cloak with his face covered in pink bandages, is closing in. Hector is instructed to exit the building and follow a pathway to a silo, where the voice on the other end of the radio awaits him. As Hector reaches the silo, he finds something else is waiting for him, too.

LOS CRONOCRIMENES is a difficult movie to review without spoiling the surprises and intricacies of its plot, but suffice it to say, what Hector finds inside that silo is a time machine, which transports him one hour into the past, giving him a glimpse at himself and the events that led him into the woods to begin with. This is where the plot gets tricky, as Hector dabbles in causality and the predestination paradox, all the while the man in the pink bandages roams the forest. After exiting the time machine, Hector becomes Hector 2, and thus it stands to reason that Hector 2 will soon become Hector 3 through a few self-fulfilling choices. And this is why LOS CRONOCRIMENES is such a unique film - it argues that time is not a straight line, that one's past can become one's future, and future events can affect present events, and so forth. If this sounds confusing, that's because it is, but that's part of the charm. While the film becomes increasingly zanier with its causal loops, it never forgets that it's also a thriller, and a fine one at that, with Hector's seemingly dumb actions becoming justified under the guise that Hector does what Hector did.

It also plays around with the 'mad slasher' theme effectively, though maybe not quite as much as I would have preferred. The killer here, in so much that he is a killer, recalls many a Mario Bava madman, wielding a pair of bloody scissors and giving chase to a few characters along the way. LOS CRONOCRIMENES also toys with voyeurism, recalling Hitchcock's love affair with heroes who let their growing need to peek best them. What's fascinating here is that Hector's need to satisfy his curiosity is interwoven with the film's elements of time travel, going back to that 'whatever happened must happen' adage. Hector's curiosity leads to a wild chain of events that may or may not see the death of a central character who may or may not be another central character, and so forth. Sound confusing? Again, that's part of the film's charm.

LOS CRONOCRIMENES is an excellent thriller that plays around with the paradoxes of time travel while still holding on to those old, pulpy elements us slasher fans adore. I am going to travel back in time and tell myself to write a review for it. Oh look at that, I just did.


BODYCOUNT 1   bodycount!   female:1 / male:0

       1) Female falls to her death