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The Last Days on Mars

“Lean, muscular and on the money, The Last Days on Mars takes a familiar story and tells it so tautly that we are pleased to be on board.

“The debut feature for Los Angeles-based Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson and written by Clive Dawson, the film is set during the last 19 hours of an early manned mission to Mars, and the Aurora 2's nine crew members are barely holding it together and eager to be on the way home.

“Driven and tactless scientist Kim Aldrich (an expert Olivia Williams) is cranky about having to leave without making a major discovery, while chief systems officer Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber), the mission's go-to guy, and his comrade-in-arms Rebecca Lane just want these final hours to go smoothly. Kim's scientific rival Marko Petrovich, however, has other ideas. He persuades the mission's easily manipulated captain, Charles Brunel, to let him leave the base for one more look around.

“It doesn't take long for all these folks and everyone else on the mission, including the ship's psychologist and two lower-ranking folks, to regret that decision. For what Petrovich discovers on his jaunt is an unexpectedly virulent form of bacterial life. These bacteria turn out to have the nasty habit of turning crew members into monstrous and violent zombie-like individuals.

“Because it is a zombie film after all, Last Days on Mars has the blood, horror and grotesqueness the genre demands, but it also has unexpected elements that attracted the strong actors in its cast. Robinson is expert at creating pressure. Working with editor Peter Lambert and composer Max Richter, he ratchets up tension as the dwindling crew members play cat and mouse games with the zombies, trying desperately to stay one step ahead of the undead. Last Days on Mars is a fine example of creating science fiction/horror on a budget. Using the bleak deserts of Jordan to stand in for Mars and doing a chunk of its special effects work in Ireland, the Red Planet has rarely looked so convincing or so menacing.”- LA Times

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