South American horror movies might not be the most well-known currently but things are definitely on the way up for them. Del Toro Films are leading this push and I was lucky enough to see one of the best films at last year’s Fantasia Festival from Argentina, The Funeral Home. A brilliantly atmospheric ghost story, I was hoping for more of the same with ON THE THIRD DAY.
One dark night, Cecilia and her young son are involved in a bad car accident but things only get worst when three days later Cecilia finds herself walking along an empty road looking for her son, but with no memory of the previous 72 hours.
It’s an interesting idea and the story only gets better, but it’s best to know the bare minimum before watching. ON THE THIRD DAY feels both brilliantly modern in story and how it handles its subject matter but also awesomely old school in its horror. At times playing out and looking like the best that Hammer had to offer. Fan of seventies Hammer horror? Then you’ll probably enjoy ON THE THIRD DAY because even some of its sets and fashion choices are similar to this time period. It’s a style I very much liked.
It’s also old school in its very cool, practical make-up effects, especially for the most horror-filled characters. There’s a couple of very awesome and very scary-looking characters here, and the make-up is nothing short of excellent. From these characters come a series of increasingly cool and creepy images and scenes. Horror fans will love this.
It’s a generally fantastic movie in every way. The cinematography is perfect and something that might seem simple, such as the lighting, is expertly used to great effect. Some of the nighttime shots will take your breath away. One shot of the full moon was a near-perfect horror image. But it’s not just the same creepy shot again and again, and when another scene sees a character’s head role from one side of the screen to the other, you’ll understand that ON THE THIRD DAY has almost everything a horror fan could ask for.
It might go from a scene full of intensity featuring Cecilia and her ex-partner but then jump to a seriously atmospheric scene involving a metronome (horror movie directors and fans love a metronome scene don’t they?). Not only will the movie have you gripped to your chair but also watching wide-eyed as the atmosphere and tension get a little too much.
Only five minutes or so into the movie and I was absolutely loving the musical score. It continues to be great throughout and the best is left until the last because, as the final credits roll, I was left staring at the screen taking it all in. And, to add further impact, the music was still creeping me out.
One of my favourite movies at this year’s Fantasia festival, ON THE THIRD DAY, is an excellently told horror story with a mesmerizing lead performance from Mariana Anghileri. As soon as the wider horror audience gets to see ON THE THIRD DAY, it will be celebrated as it should be.
ON THE THIRD DAY had its International Premiere at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.