The Last Days on Mars
is about a group of astronauts who are about to return from a 19-month mission to Mars
when they are afflicted by a biological agent that turns them into zombie-like creatures.
- Apocalyptic Log: Campbell leaves this one for the rescue crew at the end of the film.
- A Father to His Men: Captain Charles Brunel.
- Asshole Victim: Zig Zagged Trope with Kim. While she is very much deserving of the "asshole" title (read the Jerkass entry below), she did try her best to help find a solution to the zombie problem and what gets her killed is not karma but Irwin being too much of a Dirty Coward to try to help her when she was attacked.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: A side-effect from the zombification is that the zombies can act normally on the Martian atmosphere without space suits.
- Black Dude Dies First: Dalby, the team medic and sole black crew member of the explorers, is the first to get killed and infected by a zombie (Marko).
- Bolivian Army Ending: The film ends with Campbell stranded in Martian orbit, unable to reach the spaceship to Earth (but still having enough fuel to make the lander fall into re-entry, which he will do if he needs to commit suicide), with enough supplies within the lander to live on until a rescue ship arrives (if one is sent)... and he is possibly infected with the zombie virus. He reports all of these facts to Earth and the movie cuts while he's awaiting their decision.
- Broken Faceplate: Patient Zero staggers back to the expedition base, somehow surviving a fall that should have killed him or punctured his spacesuit. As he's dragged out of the airlock, a crewman takes off his helmet and we're shown the hole in the faceplate just before the Facial Horror of his dessicated features is revealed, and he attacks the crewman as an enraged alien fungus-infected zombie. Later a Zombie Infectee pulls off her space helmet to stop a colleague rescuing her. He tries to put the helmet back on, but sees the faceplate has been smashed. Later he comes across a member of the relief team dead in his spacesuit, after hearing their Sound-Only Death. The final version is when the Sole Survivor has to headbutt another infected victim, raising the possibility that he also might become infected.
- Captain Obvious: Irwin acts as this as Kim is struggling to explain what has happened to Marko and Dalby.
Kim: "Marko and Dalby are dead. They couldn't have survived it. But they're still moving."
Irwin: You're not making sense. If they're moving they have brain function. If they have brain function they're not dead, Kim."
Kim: "I'm not a fucking idiot Irwin, I know!"
- Cold Equation: Campbell, Irwin, and Rebecca escape the Mars expedition base in the solar-powered land Rover, but as it's night the Rover doesn't have enough power to reach the landing zone where the rescue mission's Drop Ship will pick them up. They could walk the rest of the way, but their infected colleagues are coming after them and Rebecca has been wounded in the leg. She's a suspected Zombie Infectee, so Irwin suggests they leave her behind. Campbell refuses, but then Irwin remembers there's another Rover nearby they can use instead. The Take a Third Option trope is defied however when Irwin steals the Rover after unsuccessfully trying once more to persuade Campbell to abandon Rebecca.
- Cool Car: The two Aurora Rovers.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Not a smart trope to follow when dealing with zombies.
- Dirty Coward: Irwin. Leaves Kim to die when she is attacked by the zombies, wants to leave behind Lane at the moment she is suspected to be a Zombie Infectee (and will not allow someone to check him and see if he's not infected himself), steals the second Rover after trying unsuccessfully to convince Campbell to leave her behind, and charges head-on into the rescue crew's landing site with several zombies right behind him that kill the whole crew, with the intent of being rescued or taking the transport lander himself.
- Distress Signal: Campbell tries twice, once at the base he's sabotaged by the Richard zombie, and succeeds on the second try once in orbit, potentially crossing over into Apocalyptic Log.
- Downer Ending: Everyone dies except Campbell, who is probably infected and is left contemplating his fate alone in the lander while waiting to hear back from mission control.
- Finger-Twitching Revival: Almost all of the zombies perform this.
- Fictional Counterpart: The ISC (International Space Commission) replaces NASA in the film.
- Fighting from the Inside: Discussed Trope, but finally averted: the one person who seemingly tries this (Brunel) was probably long dead by the time the "fighting" reflex appeared (which makes it just that, a reflex), and the vaccine given to him to help with the fighting is completely useless against the infection (at best, the substance stuns the zombie for a moment).
- Glory Seeker: Needless to say that Kim is very pissed about discovering no life forms in her entire duration on Mars. Heavily implied with Marko's actions, as well—keeping the information of his discovery secret so he alone could get credit for it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Brunel distracts one of the zombies to buy Kim enough time to get into a suit and exit the habitat. It results in him getting stabbed and later succumbing to the virus.
- Heroic Willpower: Averted to hell and back with every single infected that tries-Brunel was Dead to Begin With when his body seems to try to fight the infection (see above on "Fighting from the Inside"), Irwin spends his last moments before succumbing being a panicky, raging mess trying to recall his daughter's name (so he could record a goodbye message), Lane only keeps her sanity long enough to try to check out on her own terms... to no avail.
- Horror Hunger: Those infected like Brunel initially suffer from incredible thirst, which only gets worse once they die and turn into zombies. The fungus zombies are motivated by an extreme thirst for water, attacking the crew for theirs as seen near the end when one is kneeling over one of the landing crew and "drinking" out their intestines.
- Ice Queen: Kim Aldrich.
- It Can Think: These zombies are able to use power tools and explosives. How to open doors elude them, of course.
- I Owe You My Life: Campbell's reluctance to abandon Lane is explained when a flashback scene shows she stopped Campbell from killing himself during an attack of claustrophobia, when he tried to open the airlock door on the spaceship bringing them from Earth.
- Jerkass: Kim's teammates think she is one. She certainly doesn't has a problem making them believe that, at the beginning.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Marko broke the base team's regulations. To clarify, they had to document every finding they had in the main database and Marko deliberately withheld his discovery (which due to being kept a secret led to his unfortunate death) to hog all the glory, which Kim pointed out. Which was after Marko died.
- Let Me At Her: Richard has to be held back by crew members after Kim nonchalantly blames him for Marko's death and shows no remorse about it.
- Ludicrous Precision:
Aurora Mars Mission 2
Mission duration: 6 months
Mission Time Remaining:
- Made of Iron: Every. Single. Zombie. Of the various that are repeatedly and brutally beaten up on-screen, only one dies this way (and one other is Thrown Out the Airlock before we can see if it's dead or just stunned). Interestingly, Vincent at one point discusses running them over repeatedly with the buggy, but the people he's talking to are afraid that doing this will just make the buggy's batteries run out and still not kill the zombies.
- Mega-Corp: The Aurora Mission 2 is sponsored by several fictional conglomerates (Pangalactic, SAV, Kasamna, Total, Flutzair Schumach and Meurot), whose logos appear on the rovers and habitats.
- The Medic: Dalby. She proves her dedication to her trade, becoming absolutely distraught when she is forbidden from descending into the Martian crevice to check if Marko is alive.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: 3, though it edges on the harder side (the One Small Fib being... well... the Space Zombies).
- Multinational Team: The Aurora Mission 2 is comprised of five Brits, an American, a Canadian and a Russian.
- The ISC itself is implied to have members from China, Japan and Bangladesh also, given the selection of flags displayed on the rovers.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: The word "zombie" is not mentioned once in the film.
- Noodle Incident: The film starts when the crew is at the end of its mission and only 19 hours from leaving Mars. Details of the past 6 months are not focused on, however it is implied the mission has been fruitless in finding forms of life.
- Parasite Zombie: The zombies appear to be infected by some sort of Martian fungal organism. They're mindless and ultra-violent, which seems to be for the purpose of spreading the infection as much as possible before their bodies break down completely.
- Perpetual-Motion Monster: Averted. By the end of the film it's shown that in less than a day the zombies have decayed to the point of being inert, motionless fungus-sprouting corpses. Only Kim, the most recently killed and turned, is still active when the rescue party arrives. Too bad one zombie is still enough to kill them all.
- Product Placement: Archos touchscreens are used to control the Aurora Rovers.
- In-Universe example. It is implied the Aurora Mission 2 was sponsored by several fictional companies, given the presence of their logos on the bases and rovers.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: It's a zombie film takes place on Mars instead of Earth.
- Sound-Only Death: The Drop Ship crew.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The astronauts are playing "Blue Skies Are Around The Corner" by Jack Hylton (because they'll be heading back to Earth soon) as a menacing Martian dust storm bears down on them.
- Survival Horror: This movie follows some of the more basic tenets of the trope, especially in that the zombies are very hard to stop (and the environment of Mars doesn't helps in any way) and thus the best solution is to run away.
- This Is a Drill: A zombie uses a drill to attack a fellow crew member.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Campbell does this to an infected Irwin after knocking him out. It is also implied that Campbell tried to kill himself in this same manner some time in the past, probably on the way from Earth.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: The movie takes place in the 2040's.
- Viral Transformation. Those infected with the Martian agent become incredibly violent and able to breathe the Mars atmosphere. Their skin turns dark grey and mottled, and communication is reduced to terrifying screeching.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Being a bacterium, antibiotics neutralize the infection. When thrown onto the face of a zombie, it dissolves their flesh and causes them to scream. Ultimately averted when the bacteria develops a resistance in short order, neutralizing the zombie for maybe 20 minutes.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Campbell has become afraid of dark enclosed spaces as a result from the extended periods of isolation (spaces like, say, the spaceship that will take him to Earth). Therefore it is only fitting that he is chosen to crawl through a tunnel to the abandoned habitat to reach communication equipment.
- Zombie Gait: Zigzagged. While they seem to do the usual shuffling and stumbling while on their own, when something stimulates them, like potential victims, they resort to sprinting.