The Last Days on Mars

Planet of the Vamp... oh, whoops, it's The Last Days on Mars
Planet of the Vamp... oh, whoops, it's The Last Days on Mars
The Last Days on Mars
The Last Days on Mars

Director: Ruairi Robinson
Writers: Sydney J. Bounds (short story), Clive Dawson (screenplay)
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai

I really wanted to like The Last Days on Mars. I really tried to like it. For one thing I’m a sucker for alien type films – I can enjoy the crappiest film if it includes an isolated group of bickering characters getting progressively chomped on by an ornery monster. And it has a great cast – a perfect cast for this kind of thing – a mixture of American and English character actors, most of whom you recognise without quite remembering their names. But… I don’t know. It’s not that The Last Days on Mars is bad, in all honesty it’s perfectly acceptable and made with some skill. I just think I expected more of it than being a more expensive, less imaginative remake of Planet of the Vampires.

A group of scientists are coming to the end of their term on Mars, wrapping up their work gathering samples and researching minerals. It’s a bad time, therefore, for Marko (Goran Kostic) to discover the fossilized evidence of bacterial life. While investigating further the ground collapses beneath him and he he falls into a cave, dying instantly. The bacteria, however, has some unforseen side effects: it causes anyone who suffers any kind of skin abrasion to turn into a crusty faced zombie, determined to infect anyone and everyone around them. Who will survive? And if they do, will escaping only serve to spread the infection further?

Based on a short story by pulp novelist Sydney J. Bounds and adapted by Clive Dawson, this offers very little that’s new to the genre; in fact it plays very much like a science fiction version of The Bunker, the horror film which Dawson wrote back in 2001. In its favour, the characters are well – if briefly sketched – and the visuals are wonderful. But once the action kicks in it all becomes rather confused and strangely lacking in tension; there’s a lack of stillness acting as a contrast to the more frantic action. All of which means that it ends up being a decent it somewhat disappointing b-movie with aspirations.

About Matt Blake 890 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.

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