Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quick Cut Review - "The Last Days On Mars"

Directed by:  Ruairi Robinson
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams and Romola Garai
Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes  
Release Date: December 6, 2013

At some point we are going to run out of places to exploit for new zombie territory. We have already used up the backwoods (Night of the Living Dead), malls (Dawn of the Dead), small towns (The Crazies) entire cities (28 Days Later), missile silos (Day of the Dead), the deserts of Africa (The Dead), snow covered mountains (Dead Snow), airplanes (Flight of the Dead) and even globetrotting adventures (World War Z). But until now we have always stayed firmly rooted on planet Earth.

The Last Days On Mars is one of those films that many will look at and see nothing but wasted potential. They will see a chance to examine our fears for what may lie in waiting for us on the red planet but will ultimately lament the fact that what we find is nothing more than your average monster movie that's greatest asset happens to be its location. If you decide to look at it like that then you won't get any argument here as there is most likely a much more interesting movie in here somewhere about Mars that has still yet to be made, but as far as zombie entertainment goes, The Last Days On Mars gets just about everything right in despite our projected higher intellectual interests.

The one thing that has always separated the zombie genre from any other horror genre is that feeling of not just a single monster chasing you down to rip you apart, but the fact that there are numerous monsters chasing you with a relentlessness that would have horror icons like Jason and Freddy envious. But in most zombie movies there is almost always somewhere to run and hide, not for long albeit, but usually all you had to worry about is not getting bitten. By placing zombies on Mars however it brings to the table a whole slew of new and interesting problems that quite frankly makes it the number one worst place to find yourself smack dab in the middle of a zombie outbreak.

Not only do you have to worry about out running your zombie pursuers but you also must make sure to be suited up, have enough oxygen and make sure that not even your suit gets damaged let alone bit. Worse yet is the lack of places to run to, as we discover that our handful of soon-to-be zombie astronauts have only a couple of places to escape to before they are out of options. This change of location is central for making this a must see for zombie fans, as putting this Science Fiction spin on the genre feels like a fresh coat of paint that suddenly makes the predictable zombie formula new again.

Helping sell this absurd idea of zombies on Mars is a stable of reliable actors that may not have name recognition but sure as hell elevate what could have been a schlocky horror show into solid B-movie entertainment. Liev Schreiber is our lead actor in an ensemble of recognizable character actors such as Elias Koteas and Olivia Williams. These aren't actors you would normally associate with the zombie genre but each helps sell the Science behind the fiction (and the horror) of this zombie space tale rather well. If you are either a zombie fan, a Sci-fi/horror fan or both then you should definitely give this one a look as you will likely find yourself pleasantly entertained and even surprised a few times while spending your last days on Mars.


Grab some popcorn, cuddle up with your loved one, turn out the lights and turn your brain off for a little bit and enjoy one of the more interesting zombie movies to be released recently. The fact that it has a moderate budget guarantees some good actors, decent to good effects work and a fun time for anyone looking for a different spin on the very over stuffed zombie genre.

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