7 out of 10 UK/Ireland Co-Production
Release Date: 11th April 2014
Director: Ruairi Robinson
Cast: Liev Shreiber, Romala Garai, Elias Koteas, Johnny Harris, Tom Cullen, Yusra Warsama with Goran Kostic and Olivia Williams
Writer: Clive Dawson
Trailer: THE LAST DAYS OF MARS
To be proofread: Last Days On Mars is stylishly mounted sci-fi horror-thriller. The plot is a well-established ‘who’s next’ model, but the whole film is advanced with an intelligent script and very good cast of international (but mainly British actors) taking their jobs very seriously. This sci-fi has no time for brevity or wise cracked one-liners – it’s pure business. Not since Sunshine has the UK produced a ‘men on mission into space encounter a deadly anomaly’ movie. Sunshine derailed with the late introduction of a psycho-slasher. Last Days Of Mars has no such overweight twists to bend it out of shape. Last Days Of Mars is dependable if not original, but it’s all expertly done – the tension is built nicely and it has enough scary moments in it to earn it’s place in the space horror canon. Debut feature director Ruairi Robinson‘s Last Days On Mars features a team of eight astronauts who are looking for signs of organic life. On the last day before their shift goes off rotation, on of the two scientific officers, Marco (GORAN KOSTIC – TAKEN) makes a discovery. It turns out to be a highly contagious organism that seeks moisture at any cost, taking command of it’s human host in deadly fashion. One of the only places on Mars to find liquid is inside the survivors bodies and at their HQ. A fight for survival begins. The cast is made up with talented character actors such as Liev Shreiber (THE BUTLER), Romola Garai (MATCH POINT), Elias Koteas (THE THIN RED LINE) and up and coming Downton Abbey star Tom Cullen (WEEKEND). The stand out is the angry, irresponsible nightmare Kim (OLIVIA WILLIAMS – SABOTAGE). Before the sh*t rapidly hits the fan, each character is established economically but with care. As their numbers get whittled down it’s hard to predict who’ll be next to get infected. More than one of the deaths is heart-wrenching, as victims slowly lose their memory, fighting off the organism swarming through their veins. Faces and names of children washed away. It’s got a nice side-plot about how Shreiber’s mission engineer Campbell suffers from acute claustrophobia and also how an astronaut can pass psyche tests on earth and get on-mission but it’s not until their truly at the edge that they’ll realise how well they cope. Ironically, it’s the mission psychiatrist who suffers most, Irwin (JOHNNY HARRIS – HUGE). Overall it’s an enjoyably, sturdy horror that punches below it’s weight as it’s essentially a very well-produced zombie film set in space. It’s as if Waitrose or John Lewis had decided to make a horror film. It’s quite posh in a way. Still, it’s very good and worth giving a quite evening too. It’s not a life changer but we don’t need event movies every day, or do we? It’s the best movie set on Mars yet, leaving Hollywood efforts like John Carter, Mission to Mars or Red Planet in the dirt, easily.
7 out of 10 – Solid entertainment. A posh horror! In space! In space no one can hear you exclaim that your Ocado delivery man bought the wrong kind of Magnums….
REVIEW BELOW by Joe Pesci II aka known to HMP Broadmoor as Matt Usher
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Liev Shreiber: Faded Gigolo, The Butler, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Movie 43, Mental, Goon, Salt, Repo Men, Taking Woodstock, X Men- Wolverine, Defiance, Love In The Time Of Cholera, The Painted Veil, The Omen (2006), The Manchurian Candiate (2005), Everything Is Illuminated (dir), The Sum Of All Fears, Kate & Leopold, Scream 3, Hamlet (2000), The Hurricane, Jakob the Liar, Sphere, Twlight, Scream 2, Scream, Ransom, The Big Night, Walking and Talking, The Daytrippers, Denise Calls Up, Mixed Nuts
- Romola Garai: Junkhearts, One Day, Glorious 39, Atonement, As You Like It (2006), Match Point, Dirty Dancing 2, Inside I’m Dancing, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), I Capture The Castle
- Elias Koteas: Devil’s Knot, Now You See Me, Harold and Kumar 3, Let Me In, Dream House, Shutter Island, The Killer Inside Me, The Curious Incident of Benjamin Button, The Fourth Kind, The Haunting in Connecticut, Two Lovers, Zodiac, Shooter, Skinwalkers (2007), S1m0ne, Ararat, Collateral Damage, Novocaine, Lost Souls, Thin Red Line, Apt Pupil, Fallen, Gattaca, Crash (1996), The Prophecy, Camilla, Exotica, Cyborg 2, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 3, Chain of Desire, The Adjuster, Almost An Angel, Look Who’s Talking 2, Desperate Hours, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles (1990), Blood Red, Tucker, Some Kind of Wonderful
- Johnny Harris: Fortitude (TV), Monsters 2, Welcome To The Punch, Snow White & The Huntsman, Huge, This Is England 88 (TV), This Is England 86 (TV), Black Death, Dorian Gray, London To Brighton
- Tom Cullen: Blakc Mountain Poets, Desert Dancer, Downton Abbey (TV), Weekend
- Yusra Warsama: My Brother The Devil
- Goran Kostic: In The Land Of Blood and Honey, The Crew, Taken, Hannibal Rising
- Olivia Williams: Man Up, The Haunting of Radcliffe House, The Seventh Son, Map of the Stars, Sabotage, Now Is Good , Anna Karenina (2012), Wild Bill (2012), Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll, The Ghost, Hanna, An Education, X-Men III, To Kill A King, Below, The Heart Of Me, The Sixth Sense, Born Romantic, Rushmore, The Postman