A common theme among zombie films is that the group of survivors is somehow trapped and cut off from escape. In George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” it was a farm house and a mall. But in “The Last Days on Mars,” the survivors are even more remotely located.
As the name implies the group in question are astronauts exploring the red planet. According to the official synopsis, one of the crew discovers what he believes is fossilized evidence of bacterial life on Mars on what is supposed to be the last day of the mission. Unwilling to share the glory of such a discovery, he disobeys orders to pack up and goes on an unauthorized solo mission to find more evidence. However, disaster strikes when he falls into a crevice to certain death. His crew attempts to recover the body, but when another one of them vanishes they begin to realize that the life-form they have discovered is not dead after all. Alone with the mysterious killing bacteria, their only hope of rescue is the arrival of the relief ship Aurora.
This week, the Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnet Releasing (of Magnolia Pictures) announced it has acquired U.S. rights to “The Last Days On Mars” from Focus Features International. The sci-fi thriller is the debut feature from Academy Award-nominated director Ruairi Robinson, who has garnered acclaim for his sci-fi short films. The cast includes Liev Schreiber (“Salt,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), Elias Koteas (“Shutter Island,” “Crash”), Romola Garai (“One Day,” “Atonement”), Olivia Williams (“An Education,” “The Sixth Sense”), and Tom Cullen (“Downtown Abbey”).
Internet sources peg the release date for VOD as Sept. 19.