The Last Days on Mars
|The Last Days on Mars is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed by Ruairí Robinson with a screenplay by Clive Dawson, based on the short story “The Animators” by Sydney J. Bounds. It was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The film received a limited release on 19 September 2013 in the United Kingdom. It is scheduled for limited release in the United States on 6 December 2013. Its small cast stars Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai, Goran Kostić, Johnny Harris, Tom Cullen, Yusra Warsama and Olivia Williams.|
A research crew of eight inhabiting the Tantalus Base outpost on Mars are 19 hours from the completion of a six month mission and a rendezvous with the lander Aurora, which will return them to their main orbiting craft.
Scientist Marko Petrovic (Goran Kostić) has found samples that may point to life on the planet. Without revealing his discovery he devises a ruse for one last sojourn on the surface. Crewmate Richard Harrington (Tom Cullen) drives Petrovic, in a solar powered rover, to the spot where he had found the sample. Having obtained soil with the biological agent present Petrovic is about to return to the rover when he is swallowed by a fissure. Captain Charles Brunel (Elias Koteas) and crewmate Lauren Dalby (Yusra Warsama) plan to explore the pit to retrieve Marko’s body. Dalby remains at the pit but disappears before the team can return with equipment. Led by Brunel and Vincent Campbell (Liev Schrieber) the pit is eventually explored and some sort of life is found to be present and growing.
Dalby and Marko reappear at the main outpost having been mutated by the Martian biological agents: they are now fast, aggressive, and zombie-like with blackened skin and no trace of their original personalities. Harrington is killed with a running power drill to the abdomen, before turning into one of them, and the other crew members are attacked. The bulk of the movie’s middle section is taken up with fights and escapes from the zombie beings through the habitat modules of the Martian base. Brunel is killed and reanimates with the infection. Scientist Kim Aldrich (Olivia Williams)—who had often infuriated her crewmates—is deliberately left to die by Robert Irwin (Johnny Harris) who emerges as the most self-serving of the crew. Rebecca Lane (Romola Garai) is also injured.
Eventually Campbell, Irwin, and Lane flee the base on a rover with zombies in pursuit. When the rover’s power runs down the three must get to the other rover. Under the pretense of a scouting operation Irwin steals the second rover arguing that Lane is infected due to a wound. Waiting for the sun to rise and the solar powered batteries to recharge, Campbell falls asleep and Lane flees knowing that she is likely to turn into a zombie. When he wakes he goes after her, but is forced to kill her when she turns to a zombie. Campbell and Irwin separately converging on the Aurora lander, where the lander’s crew are killed by Kim Aldrich, Marko Petrovic, Lauren Dalby and Richard Harrington dies because of their infections, and a clearly infected Irwin initiates a launch, taking him and Campbell into orbit. Campbell kills Irwin and ejects the body and virulent blood droplets into the vacuum of space.
Campbell leaves a time delayed message for mission control saying he does not have enough fuel for a rendezvous but that supplies aboard can last for months if they want to launch a rescue. He argues that this may not be advisable as he may be infected himself, having found a tiny cut on his face. The movie ends before he gets a reply.