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[Fantasia ’21] ‘On the 3rd Day’ review: Well written mystery horror from Argentina

Better than it initially lets on.

On the 3rd Day is a film from the burgeoning horror industry in Argentina. The Fantasia Film Festival entry is about a car wreck involving a woman named Cecilia and her son Martin. When she awakens, three days have past and her son is missing. The opening moments are odd and unpromising. Things begin like many other horror films. There are hints at torture horror leading to a silly freeze frame and bloody title cards. If On the Third Day is going to work, it is going to be on a sillier level.

Things continue like this for the first act. While it becomes clear On the 3rd Day is more serious than it initially lets on, there is a feeling it is too derivative. It takes a while for the film to pick up speed. Once On the Third Day does open up, things become more interesting. The film morphs into mystery which will keep audiences glued to their seats. The story goes in a number of directions and keeps the audience guessing. 

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[Fantasia '21] 'On the 3rd Day' review: Well written mystery horror from Argentina

The inspired camerawork adds to the mystery and the horror. Weird angles are employed often and the whole movie is atmospheric. There is also a nice dual interrogations scene in the middle of On the 3rd Day. The camera seems to be constantly be working at disorienting the audience. When the story falters, the film’s look will keep people engaged.  

There is a predictability to On the 3rd Day, but it is still worth watching. There is a nice twist in the final moments and the writing has its share of strong moments. The movie has a great look and will impress horror fans. The film smartly shies away from graphic violence, instead focusing on the music and setting to scare viewers.

The Fantasia Film Festival takes place in person and online from August 5 – August 25

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