Crash-landing into the filing cabinet clearly marked ‘seen this all before’, The Last Days On Mars is a mish-mash of genre hits from down the years.

With elements of The Thing, Prometheus, Alien and Moon, along with a side order of a shrug of the shoulders and a weary ‘meh’, chances are you’ll be ticking off the references as they fly up on screen.

That’s not to say the film is a disaster, as it isn’t, but more than likely you’ll have forgotten about the whole thing before the credits end.

Set, funnily enough, on the red planet, the film follows a bunch of scientists at a research facility winding down their final hours before the end of their six-month mission.

Trouble is, one of those pesky scientists (Goran Kostic) reckons he has stumbled across some sort of bacterial life-form on the map and sets off to investigate.

Before you know it this bacteria has infected him, for some reason turning him into a raving zombie.

Naturally this isn’t good news for the rest of the crew, who find themselves under siege from this new menace, with everyone else seemingly capable of becoming a zombie themselves – just from touch (which is never really explained).

Will anyone survive? Will the transport ship en route to collect the crew arrive in time? Does anyone care?

For starters, you have to say that director Ruairi Robinson (making his feature debut) has put together a decent cast for a movie that practically screams ‘straight to DVD’.

We get the likes of Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai and Olivia Williams popping up as crew members, and the truth is they all deliver solid work.

Nothing spectacular mind you, but the performances are definitely one of the film’s strong points.

The set design and effects work is pretty good, with desolate landscapes, sand-storms and cramped corridors the order of the day.

Robinson’s direction is fine, offering nothing flashy or of real note, but equally keeping the thing ticking over nicely.

Even so, when watching the film (which clocks in at a brisk 90 minutes), you get the overwhelming feeling as to wanting to know just why everybody involved bothered.

It’s certainly watchable, and the cast keep the thing on the right side of respectability, but The Last Days On Mars is very much ‘watch if you have nothing better to do’ fodder.

 

 

DVD Review: The Last Days On Mars
A forgettable sci-fi horror that fails to take off
The Good
  • Solid cast
  • Decent effects
The Bad
  • No originality
2.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.