25th Fantasia International Film Festival: ‘On The Third Day’

by Rachel Bellwoar

On the Third Day

Directed by Daniel De la Vega

Written by Alberto Fasce and Gonzalo Ventura

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. After getting in a car accident with her son (Octavio Belmonte) in the backseat, Cecilia (Mariana Anghileri) wakes up to find herself in a different location, her son nowhere to seen. At the hospital Cecilia learns the accident was three days ago, yet Cecilia has no memory of where she’s been or how she and her son got separated.

On the Third Day has so many things going for it. The strangeness of Cecilia’s missing time. Some great special effects makeups. Decapitated heads that look real and properly gory. What it doesn’t do is invest enough time in its characters to make viewers care about what happens to them. A mother losing her child is naturally sympathetic, but On the Third Day counts on that sympathy too much, while allowing characters to behave in ways that lack clear motivation. Cecilia’s doctor (Lautaro Delgado), in particular, is a real headscratcher. Not only does his drive to help Cecilia not make sense, but he somehow knows a hypnotist (Osmar Nuñez) offhand who can help Cecilia out.

All of the actors give it their all, but they don’t always have a lot to work with and while, visually, On the Third Day is never boring, with its bold colors and off-kilter aesthetic, the film ultimately goes in a direction that’s tired and traditional instead of fresh and new. By just lighting Nuñez’s eyes, for instance, a typical sequence of a character being put under hypnosis becomes mesmerizing, yet in trying to misdirect the viewer, the film sets itself up for disappointment.

On the Third Day makes its international premiere on Monday, August 23rd.

The 25th Fantasia International Film Festival runs from August 5th to August 25th. Click here for the full program.

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