By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 9, 2013 at 2:08PM
Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has scooped up US rights to sci-fi thriller "The Last Days on Mars." This a timely acquisition for Magnet: The film stars Liev Schreiber, who toplines Showtime's new ratings hit "Ray Donovan."
Elias Koteas ("Shutter Island"), Romola Garai ("The Hour"), Olivia Williams ("An Education") and Tom Cullen ("Downton Abbey") also star in the film, which premiered in Cannes' Directors Fortnight in May.
The Hollywood Reporter review describes it as an "atmospheric chiller that unleashes zombie peril in space... [which] doesn't have the scripting muscle to deliver on its original premise. But the solid cast keeps it reasonable gripping nonetheless." Indiewire's review seconds the sentiment: "There's plenty to admire here -- from the ominous opening shots, in which a massive sandstorm engulfs the base, to the concluding image of a blinking spaceship against the black void of space. Ultimately, 'The Last Days of Mars' provides a window into a great Mars movie that might have been and a reminder that we're still waiting for one."
Here's the official synopsis:
On the last day of the first manned mission to Mars, a crew member of Tantalus Base believes he has made an astounding discovery – fossilized evidence of bacterial life. Unwilling to let the relief crew claim all the glory, he disobeys orders to pack up and goes out on an unauthorized expedition to collect further samples. But a routine excavation turns to disaster when the porous ground collapses, and he falls into a deep crevice and near certain death. His devastated colleagues attempt to recover his body. However, when another vanishes they start to suspect that the life-form they have discovered is not yet dead. As the group begins to fall apart it seems their only hope is the imminent arrival of the relief ship Aurora.
Magnet is eyeing a release via its Ultra VOD program for later in 2013.