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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Daniel de la Vega

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

This is a spoiler free review and therefore it's very difficult to go into the detail as to why ON THE 3RD DAY is the must see horror of the year. With touches of Dario Argento and Nicholas Roeg it's no surprise that Daniel de la Vega's film blends the legacy of great south American horror with haunting storytelling smothered in a modern lust for blood and gore.

Cecilia (Mariana Anghileri) and her son Martín (Octavio Belmonte) have a car accident. On the third day after the crash, she wanders by herself on a lonely route and there is no clue of her son. She can't remember what happened during this time and she is desperately looking for her son. On her quest she finds coincidences with her case and other police files, which seem to be acts of a brutal hunting. The circles goes round and Cecilia will end up facing a religious man, who is the responsible of this slaughter. For her, he is a lunatic. For him, Cecilia is the enemy.

Anghileri succeeds in giving us the desperate cries of a mother in search of her son but ON THE 3RD DAY delivers on giving a journey not only of desperation, but one of mercy and truth. As Cecelia fights against an investigative cop, a supportive doctor and a violent priest, she gets strong enough to learnt he truth and it's a shocking revelation but one that is earned .

With shots of scarlet red doors mixed with the fading face of our heroine leaving nurturing eyes on screen, corpses with shock remaining on their faces long after their death, facial close ups and breadcrumbs placed to strike against the background. There's so much to credit Daniel de la Vega's film and vision, much of which is cleverly edited and shot to give us an original yet somewhat familiar Giallo classic.

Add into this Luciano Onetti's mesmeric score that lives long beyond the films credits and there is an undeniable passion for both horror and heartache the will linger on. Theres a symphony of harsh strings but also of piano that play like a fight between two classical composers at odds with each other. Matching neatly with the violence and the storytelling in stark contrast yet beautiful harmony. It's this balance that really keeps viewers engaged and embedded in the mystery as the priest's search for Cecelia and mystery cargo that leaves a literal trail of heads and some of the most graphic scenes of body disposals on film. Contrasted with the heartfelt journey of Cecelia, these scenes are not only harsh reminders this is a horror film but they are so vividly bought to screen by Monster Labs and Piromania FX.

ON THE 3RD DAY is near perfect with the exception of one minor aggravating feature. Despite a fantastic story, brilliantly bought to life through an ingenious lens and flare for horror, the films choice to be released dubbed is hit-and-miss. It's biggest draw could also be it's biggest set back as the nostalgia of 60s and 70s horror backdropped with poor dubbing may garner a new love but it's often a distraction in a movie filmed in high quality and clear sound. The priest, the cop and the doctor are so out of sync it's often laughable but fortunately the film is so much more than a sum of it's parts and as a whole still delivers the tense thrills of a modern horror with enough passion for the genre to keep seasoned veterans happy.

Plus a huge kudos the the credits thanks list which is an exhaustive list of the films antagonist across the history of film.

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