Movie Review: ‘The Last Days on Mars’

Jarrett Quick

Although “The Last Days on Mars” seems similar to this years space terror hit “Gravity,” the film never comes together to rise above tired horror movie cliches.

In “The Last Days on Mars,” an eight-man research crew has been on Mars for sixth months and is about to head back to Earth. In the last 19 hours of the mission, scientist Marko Petrovic (Goran Kostic) finds signs of microbial life on the planet but falls into a fissure. This leads to his transformation into a charred looking zombie, and the remaining crew and their mission leader Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber) quickly learn they have to be willing to do anything to survive.

I was disappointed in this movie. The trailers made it seem like more than just a zombie movie, but that is all it really turned out to be. It was interesting to see zombies in space, but even in that sense the movie did not embrace the opportunity for creative twists on horror tropes and falls into plenty of predictable character actions instead. Overall it seems like a big missed opportunity for the interesting story they set up.

One thing I really liked in this film was atmosphere. The space station they live in is believably claustrophobic and work as a good backdrop for a film that is primarily space zombie attacks. Even outside the base, the use of Jordan as the landscape of Mars adds to this effect even further, especially in the scenes in which the infected are trying to find there way back in.

There were a few excellent actors in the film, but the big standout performances were definitely Schreiber and Olivia Williams, as Kim Aldrich. Schreiber’s character is constantly exposed to situations outside his expectations, so there are plenty of opportunities for excellent acting. Some of the most believable dialogue in the film is thanks to Schreiber’s abilities. I have been a fan of Williams since seeing “Rushmore,” and she does an excellent job playing someone the rest of the crew really does not like. I often found myself on her side in arguments in the film and I think she portrayed how a dedicated scientists would react to the infection.

As a whole, the film is not terrible, but it does not do anything that really sets it apart. The acting is good in sporadic parts, but a majority of the film is zombie versus human fight scenes that could just as easily have been from a number of horror films released within the last five years. I would wait for this one to pop up on Netflix rather than shell out the $8 for a showing.