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last days on mars



To call this Sci-Fi /Horror 28 Days Later in space is simplifying things a bit but, that is the basic idea and, as such, thats not a bad thing. The Last Days On Mars tells the ill-fated tale of a six month, 8 person expedition on Mars that is in it’s final day before a replacement crew comes and the current group of astronauts may return home. And what an eventful last day it is. With less then 20 hours till pick-up, it is discovered that the red planet harbors a bacterial life form, one that thrives on what little liquid is left on Mars. But, an unfortunate accident claims the life of one of the crew and soon, to the survivors’ horror, it’s discovered that the bacteria can use living… or dead… things as a host to seek more moisture and human contact with the virus-like life form turns those infected into vicious and violent zombie-like creatures who will kill to get at the blood inside the remaining living. Now with their numbers decreasing and the relentless re-animated dead increasing, the remaining crew must somehow figure out a way to stay alive and keep from being infected during what becomes a night of terror millions of miles from home and hours from possible rescue. Despite some very familiar story elements, Mars is well directed by Ruairí Robinson from a screenplay by Clive Dawson based on Sydney J. Bounds’ short story “The Animators”. Robinson knows how to create tension and suspense and gives us some scary moments mixed in with some intense action and it’s entertaining enough to make us overlook that we have seen it all before and, with zombies being very popular right now, quite a lot. The Mars base setting adds a little novelty to the proceedings as the isolation of being on the red planet and the lack of oxygen outside also give the filmmakers some new elements to play with within the familiar formula when putting the characters in tense situations. And as for the characters, we have a good cast representing the international crew including Liev Schreiber as our heroic lead, astronaut Campbell, Romola Garai as the pretty and level headed Rebecca Lane, Elias Koteas as the mission commander Brunel and Olivia Williams as hot headed Kim Aldrich. The actors all perform well and give their characters some welcome personality in the brief time we have to get to know them. Sure they’re a bit cliche’ but, the actors still give them some humanity. The SPFX are really good in both visual effects and the make-up effects representing our transformed astronauts and their carnage and the sets and props all look solid for what is a modestly budgeted film. There is plenty of bloodshed but, very little gore, as this is not the flesh eating variety of zombie though extracting blood from a victim’s body is messy enough. All in all, this is not an original film and we have certainly been down this zombified road before but, Irish director Robinson does a very good job keeping his familiar material effective and has a good cast and an efficient production crew that turn what could have been a routine flick into an entertaining Sci-Fi /Horror that won’t win any awards and won’t really stay with you, when all is said and done, but, should keep one pleasantly amused and appropriately spooked during its 1 hr and 40 min runtime and sometimes that is all one needs. A good, fun Horror flick for an evening on the couch. Also stars Goran Kostić, Johnny Harris, Tom Cullen and Yusra Warsama rounding out the Tantalus Base crew.

3 angry red planets!

last days on mars rating




prophecy   Prophecy2 




Gregory Widen writes and directs this clever and often very creepy horror flick concerning a second war in Heaven spilling out onto the Earth. Jealous over the attention God has given humankind, the Archangel Gabriel (Christopher Walken) has waged a war that has lasted centuries. But if he can acquire the soul of a heinously evil human general who has recently died, it could turn the tide. Loyal angel Samuel (Eric Stoltz) has hidden the soul in a little girl, Mary (Moriah Snyder) and now it’s up to ex-priest turned cop, Thomas (Elias Koteas) and school teacher, Katherine (Virginia Madsen) to stop Gabriel from getting the soul from Mary. Complicating matters is a third party, Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen), who has an invested interest in how this situation plays out.

Widen gives this film a nice atmosphere and creatively weaves Bible scripture into this very original and effective horror, as well as, gives some very good dialog for star Walken and Mortensen’s Lucifer to chew on. He also has a nice visual style and makes good use of a small budget. He gets good performances from all the cast with Koteas really convincing as a man who has lost his faith now faced with defending the God he turned away from and Madsen making a strong willed heroine forced to stand against the unthinkable. Obviously, thought, it is Walken who takes his role and runs with it with his sinister and quirky performance as the vengeful Gabriel. But not to be overlooked, is Viggo Mortensen giving one of the creepiest representations of Satan on film. His fallen angel is dripping with evil and malice and delivers Widen’s dialog with an unsettling restraint that is a perfect contrast to Walken’s more over the top Gabriel. A witty, original, unnerving and very entertaining horror.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 Walkens

prophecy rating




Direct to DVD sequel actually isn’t bad. Can’t compare to the original, but it is entertaining. Story has Gabriel (Christopher Walken) released from Hell and continuing his war to take control of Heaven. A loyal angel, Danyael (Russell Wong) impregnates a human woman, Valerie (Jennifer Beals) to create a nephilim, a human/angel hybrid who is prophesied to unite the angels and end the second war. Gabriel now must hunt down Valerie and destroy her unborn child before it can ruin his plans to take over Heaven.

Greg Spence writes and directs this time and doesn’t quite have the cleverness or style that Gregory Widen had, but he directs competently and gives the sequel a brisk pace and Walken is once again worth watching for his quirky and sinister Gabriel. The rest of the cast is fine with Beals giving a strong and sympathetic performance as a woman fighting supernatural odds to save her child and Russel Wong bringing a strong nobility to Danyael. Also starring Brittany Murphy as a suicidal girl Gabriel uses as his human familiar and Eric Roberts as the angel, Michael. Not bad as direct to DVD sequels go. Fans of the original will probably be entertained.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 Walkens

prophecy 2 rating

There is a Prophecy 3 (2000) that you may want to add to complete the trilogy, but it is far inferior to the first two and Walken’s Gabriel is more of a spectator this time around. It does sort of complete the story, but doesn’t have the same quality or entertainment value as it predecessors. Only if you have the time and are a completest or a fan of this series.

The trailer is no longer available so, this scene will have to do…