THE LAST DAYS ON MARS (Mongrel, 2013) D: Ruairi Robinson, w/ Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas. Rating: NN; Blu-ray package: none Rating: NN
Zombies on Mars is not the most original idea in movie history, and The Last Days On Mars is a bit disappointing given all the ways the initial set-up could have gone, but it's lively, competent and delivers a sense of dire peril.
With 20 hours left on their six-month research mission on Mars's surface, seven astronaut scientists discover microbial life. A couple of them get infected and turn into mindless munchers intent on sucking water - not blood - from the living, which makes sense on Mars.
Director Ruairi Robinson knows how to construct tense moments and makes fine use of labs, corridors, air locks and such, but don't look for big effects sequences.
The cast does what it can with the one-note - sometimes no-note - characters. Liev Schreiber conveys appropriately heroic calm competence, but Olivia Williams provides the only real fun as the crisp, self-assured resident bitch.
In the absence of extras, go for a double bill. Try Matango, aka Attack Of The Mushroom People, an early 60s Japanese effort with a different take on the effects of letting the wrong microorganisms into your bloodstream.
EXTRAS English audio. No subtitles.