BY ISA MONTAGNESE
I love the combo of space and horror, so I got pretty excited about The Last Days on Mars and I wasn’t totally disappointed! With a great cast, including Romola Garai, Olivia Williams and Liev Schreiber, and lots of dust storms, I was looking forward to this one.
This movie is following in the the footsteps of The Thing, Alien and more recently Moon (go watch it now if you haven’t) in the way that all these films deal with space/alien-based fear but also end up mostly dealing with isolation and fear of infections (both of physical bodies/minds and of buildings you can’t get out of). These days, the current space-focused fear is Mars. Mars is our new uncharted but totally chartable territory, so of course we gotta make movies about how full of bad things it is. The movie focuses around an international group (including a Canadian woo) of astronauts and such on Mars collecting specimens to bring home. Shit hits the fan when an infection creeps into the base on the crews last day on the planet.
OK, first things first: nothing is scarier than being stuck/isolated and limited by your equipment when bad stuff happens (this is an irrational fear of mine, clearly). But seriously, the whole movie could have been basically about losing it in a base on Mars, but instead the writers chose to push it a bit with an extra element (I won’t give it away) to be freaked out about. I could have really done without the extra scare factor. The cast and setting and basic plot were all solid for a slow, creepy, atmospheric horror. I feel like this shows the talent level of the filmmakers when they’re reaching for more scares, more plot twists and end up with…meh. I really did enjoy this movie, though; I wouldn’t put it up there with the greats, but it was alright.