Peter Suderman Reviews The Last Days on Mars


Last Days on Mars / Magnolia Pictures

Senior Editor Peter Suderman reviews the new zombies-on-Mars movie, The Last Days on Mars:

Zombies, once the exclusive province of low-budget horror, seem to be just about everywhere in pop-culture these days — on popular TV shows, in big budget movies and teen-targeted comedies and interspersed with classic literature. I suppose it was only a matter of time until they made it to Mars.

No one ever says the word "zombie" in "The Last Days on Mars," but there's no question that it is a zombie movie. And aside from the extraterrestrial location, it's really a rather conventional one, in which a small group of people in a remote area must fight for their lives when a viral outbreak starts turning them into power-tool-wielding undead menaces.

The future undead and their victims are near-future astronauts on an early, six-month manned mission to the Red Planet. It's a lonely gig in an inhospitable world, but they've got only 19 hours left (really, the movie could have been called "The Last Day on Mars") in their inflated Martian living habitat. Mission specialist Vincent Campbell (Liev Shreiber) longs for the blue sky and green grass of Earth, and wants to start the six-month commute home as fast as possible.

But some of the team wants to work until the very end. One of the scientists (played by Goran Kostic) gets special permission from mission leader Charles Brunel (Elias Koteas) to make a last minute run to fix a sensor. Or so he says. He's actually off to collect a specimen he believes could prove the existence of microbial life on Mars.

Life on Mars! Do undead zombie astronauts count? The movie lumbers forward in standard zombie-pic fashion, pitting man against walking dead in a familiar array of sterile corridors, pitch-black exteriors and strobe-lit hallways. It's paint-by-numbers sci-fi monster movie stuff, and it borrows a lot from both the original "Alien" and John Carpenter's 1982 remake of "The Thing."

Read the whole review in The Washington Times.