The Last Days on Mars
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dreary space zombie sci-fi tale gets bloody and gross.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There's not much going on here except humans yelling at each other as zombies attack.
Positive Role Models
Unless you count the idea of astronauts as brave heroes, exploring the cosmos, this movie has precious little behavior worth emulating, except for maybe the hero's final sacrifice to save mankind.
Violence & Scariness
All of the violence is sci-fi/fantasy-based and not terribly realistic, nor is it terribly visible, given the camerawork. There's some blood and gore as zombies attack humans. There's a good deal of fighting and zombie-bashing. Characters get a drill to the stomach, and stabbed with scissors. A character tries to commit suicide by taking off her space helmet on the planet's surface. It can be a bit scary when people turn into zombies and their faces mutate in freakish ways.
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"F--k" and "s--t" are both used several times. "Piss" and "hell" are also heard. Characters use both "God" and "Jesus Christ" when scared.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last Days on Mars is a sci-fi/horror movie about astronauts on Mars who discover bacteria that turns people into zombies. Expect a good measure of sci-fi violence, with some blood and gore. Both humans and zombies are attacked, beaten, and stabbed. When humans turn into zombies, the images of their faces distorting is pretty disturbing. The other major issue is language, with several uses of both "f--k" and "s--t."
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
The first manned mission to Mars is nearing its end. Tempers flare and personalities clash when one of the crew members makes an important discovery: some kind of bacteria. Life on Mars. Unfortunately, his discovery, and his impetuous behavior, leads to a tragic accident: a cave-in. As his colleagues try to save him, they make a horrific realization. The bacteria turns dead bodies into raging zombies! It's up to Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber) to try and save as many of his crew members as he can before the zombies -- who don't need space suits to survive -- take over.
Is It Any Good?
It takes a certain kind of attitude to pull off a movie as ridiculous as this one, and director Ruairi Robinson simply doesn't have it. Rather than cheerful and energetic, he turns in a movie that's dreary and annoying. Worse, all of the big zombie attack sequences are shot with such awful, shaky hand-held camerawork that it's nearly impossible to see what's going on. In one sequence, a character hits an alarm, which -- for some reason -- makes the lights flash on and off so that not even the characters can see anything. The humans have no depth or chemistry. The central character is given one of those handy backstories that includes flashbacks to "something terrible that once happened." The others do nothing but complain and snap at one another. In other words, if the zombies won in this movie, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
- In theaters: December 6, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: March 4, 2014
- Cast: Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, Romola Garai
- Director: Ruairi Robinson
- Studios: Magnet Releasing, Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and language
- Last updated: April 4, 2023
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