Friday, July 15, 2022

On the 3rd Day – review

Director: Daniel de la Vega

Release date: 2021

Contains spoilers

When I say contains spoilers, I mean great big blooming ones as this is a film that deliberately hides its vampiric credentials until the end. So, from me to you, apologies – apologies as just putting the film on this blog spoils it, but perhaps not as much as the act of putting the film on Shudder (and on the US Blu-Ray I understand) in dubbed form has actively attempted to murder it, with some of the worst dubbing I’ve been witness to for a while. Overall, however, I’d rather spoil this and let you know because, despite the atrocious dub this is worth watching, with some great visuals (though dark for screenshotting), a Eurohorror vibe and a really neat variant of the mirror trope.

Gerardo Romano as Enrique

The film starts with Cecilia (Mariana Anghileri) getting young son Martin (Octavio Belmonte) ready to go on a trip, the fact that she lets him forgo showering and doesn’t answer when he asks if dad, Fernando (Diego Cremonesi), is coming lets us know something is wrong. Elsewhere a man, later revealed to be a priest named Padre Enrique (Gerardo Romano) is told to transport something – hopefully for the last time.

the crate

The pair end up travelling along different sides of a night time highway. For genre fans the crate in the back of the van will be ringing clanging bells as to the nature of the contents. Cecilia passes a stranded driver Lucia (Verónica Intile), who tries to wave her down for help. She drives past but then looks back, distracted, and spins off when she sees the truck coming at her. The truck hits the car...

at the service station

Cecilia, who we last saw wide eyed as the truck bore down on her, opens her eyes in a disused building. She is wearing her coat but her top below it has vanished. She looks to escape. Elsewhere we see a couple of elderly gas station attendants preparing dinner. These two underline what I mean about poor dubbing, the voice acting is (I’m afraid, and sorry) third rate. The old man is putting food out for the dog despite the dog having vanished recently. He sees Cecilia stumble towards them. Cutting to another scene, we see Padre Enrique leave his truck, immediately after the crash, and Lucia is over the bonnet – he comments that it is not her blood (on her).

threatening Cecilia 

Cecilia is in hospital and slowly wakes up. In another room the on-duty Dr. Pastori (Lautaro Delgado Tymruk) deals with an elderly patient. He hears a disturbance and it is Fernando who is demanding to know where his son is. As things develop Pastori is told that Cecilia didn’t surface until three days after the accident and Martin’s whereabouts are unknown. The film plays with a nonlinear aspect and so we see Padre Enrique who seems to be torturing/questioning Lucia somewhere whilst also seeing what happens with Cecilia. She seems to see Martin in mirrors and has flashbacks as she pieces her memory back together. It appears that, panicking whilst hiding in the elderly patient’s room, she smothered the woman, though when the body is found her face is twisted in fear.

the Ancient

Pastori gets drawn in, trying to help the woman, taking her to a hypnotist (Osmar Núñez) to try and recover her missing memories, the abusive Fernando goes missing and an aging detective Inspector Ventura (Osvaldo Santoro) is also trying to find her and piece the mystery together. The answer is clearly occult – that much is evident through the film and, being here, it all surrounds a vampire called the Ancient (Mathias Domizi), who was imprisoned in the crate.

Verónica Intile as Lucia

When we finally see the Ancient, we get a very tall, Nosferatu like creature, with long clawed fingers. It is a fantastic look and works exceedingly well. There is significance to Padre Enrique suggesting it is not her blood to the insensible Lucia and we see that a blood transfer is needed to turn someone. There is a price to immortality and that lies in mirrors, which show the vampire their victims looking back at them. I really liked that as a piece of lore. Religious objects ward them, sunlight seems to burn and, to be sure they're dead, decapitation is the order of the day.

scared to death?

Again, you have my apologies for the massive spoilers but this film does deserve to feature here and take its place on vampire filmographies. It looks wonderful, I enjoyed piecing the nonlinear aspects together and we know, deep down, what is going on (one way or another) but need the film to confirm to us. It is such a shame that the dubbing is there – I really feel it harmed the film and has likely cost points (I’ll know when I get to see it in the original Spanish). You should note also that there is an end credit scene. 6.5 out of 10 (and hopefully more if an undubbed version gets released).

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Shudder Via Amazon UK

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