The Last Days on Mars is a sci fi thriller about a group of astronauts who embark on a manned space flight to the red planet. Things go smoothly at first, the crew land safely on Mars, set up a base and begin to explore the barren surface. On the final day of their mission two crew members discover fossilized remains of an alien life form, the men fall into a pit at the excavation site and are infected with something nasty when they come into contact with the alien fossil. It seems the alien remains are not quite dead yet and the creature carries a virus deadly to humans. The situation worsens as the men stagger back to base and risk infecting their colleagues with this mysterious malady.

Ruairi Robinson directed the film and it has a diverse cast including Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas and Olivia Williams. It’s an unusual cast for a sci fi thriller and some of the actors here are new to the genre, Romola Garai in particular was attracted to the role she auditioned for because it is unlike anything she’s done before.

The trailer is quite mysterious, the virus is not explained, the alien creature is not shown and the infected crew members are also only seen in fleeting glimpses. This is interesting as the viewer is allowed to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. The special effects that are briefly shown look good and the film doesn’t appear to be overloaded with CGI which is refreshing. Apparently the film was made on a limited budget but the effects on display in the trailer and the set design are noteworthy.

Sci fi thrillers are always popular and this movie appears to be inspired by films such as Prometheus and The Andromeda Strain. Those films were also about a small group of people under threat from an alien force or a virus. When people are trapped in a confined space and under pressure they become a danger to each other, throwing an alien into the formula can also increase the tension a fair bit. This well known plot is always intriguing and actually based on a short story by the author Sydney J. Bounds called “The Animators.” The story in this film is derivative and that may put off some viewers looking for something new, however the solid cast and set design elevate the film and make it worth a look.

Intriguing sci fi thrillers are usually worth a look and eager fans can catch The Last Days on Mars when it is released. There isn’t a UK release date yet but keep an eye out for one in the future. Have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.