The Last Days on Mars

Preparing to return to earth at the end of a fruitless research mission, a scientific crew on Mars encounters a strange virus that transforms people into homicidal maniacs. The early, dialogue-driven scenes of this low-budget space saga recall the cerebral sci-fi of Isaac Asimov or The Twilight Zone, with a talented ensemble turning in understated character work as the frustrated crew members (Olivia Williams is especially good as a by-the-book officer). Alas, the film quickly loses its offbeat charm and devolves into a routine monster movie. Ruairi Robinson directed a script adapted from a short story by prolific genre writer Sydney J. Bounds; with Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas.