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Classic Review Revamp: The Last Days on Mars (2013)



A group of astronaut explorers succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force while collecting specimens on Mars.



Review

Directed by Ruairi Robinson (feature debut), The Last Days on Mars starts with a study on Mars (which is very brief before we get to the action, so we're never given 100% of their intent), with only twenty hours before their departure window, when one of the crew of the Tantalus Base discovers bacterial life.

Then he falls down a hole.

Seriously.

Then there is a whole bunch of bad decisions by the Captain.

This leaves most of the crew infected by the bacteria, who then become flesh eating zombies. For reasons.

Written by Clive Dawson (feature debut) the basic set up similar to the far superior The Thing - it's the unknown in a claustrophobic environment. And it's better than it deserves to be. Dawson's plot is non-existent sure, but one could argue Carpenter's The Thing didn't exactly have a Shakespearian backbone. The acting is pretty solid throughout. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) leads the pack and does a solid enough job. The always watchable Elias Koteas (Shutter Island), plays Captain Brunel who makes some really bad decisions throughout the runtime.

The CGI is noticeably better than other films with much larger budgets. It boast some nice scapes, and at no point is the illusion of outer space broken. Well, not by the CG, anyway. You can't jog on Mars. And there's a lot of jogging in this. Also, there is very little deterioration of the flesh when exposed to martian atmosphere. For hours. 

But honestly, I nit-pick.

It's a good science fiction horror movie. One of the best Mars films of recent years too. The direction is more than capable, the effects are good, and there some really decent acting on display. No, you can think about it too much, but it is solidly made. The only major qualm I have is that unlike The Thing it's not that scary, per se. More sci fi with horror elements, but a fun watch nonetheless.



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