Technology and terror are an odd combination in film. While there have been some films to successfully combine the pair (The Terminator, Hardware, The Ring) most of them are pretty terrible (feardotcom, One Missed Call). It often feels like filmmakers don’t have a grasp on the technology they’re trying to make scary. This leads to them only trying to make a film calculated to get teenagers into a theatre opening weekend. Countdown is a terrible film. The plot is ridiculous, the scares are non-existent, and the ending will induce an eye rolls in most viewers. Part of me wants to end this review right here. But I better dig deeper into this cynical cash grab and what makes it tick.
“This app, it’s fake. Obviously.”
In Countdown, we follow Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) a nursing school grad who has a bright future ahead of her. On a whim she and her co-workers download an app that tells the user the exact time of their death. When she finds out she has only a few days to live she teams up with Matt (Jordan Calloway) who is also running out of time in order to change their fates. Pretty standard stuff for a typical horror film, but wait… IT’S A KILLER APP!
I’ve watched a lot of horror films with outlandish villains. I’ve seen killer dolls, robots, snowmen, gingerbread men, and a bong but a killer app that gets personified as a run of the mill demon may be the dumbest. Also, if such an app existed and was in fact killing people you better believe there’d be Reddit threads warning people and idiots wanting to be famous on YouTube livestreaming their demise. Warning of this would spread like wildfire all over the “Information Superhighway” (can we bring that term back into the cultural lexicon?).
“It knew. That app said she was going to die.”
So we know the plot is bad, but what about the rest of the film? The cast has some decent up and coming actors. I’ve not seen Lail and Calloway in any of their other work, but both just feel like actors trying to get more on their filmography. I hope they can move past shlock like this and get better roles.
I could continue to talk about the inane plot, tin eared dialogue, the lackluster atmosphere, and scant scares but I really don’t want to waste my time or yours dear reader. Do anything else with your life for ninety minutes. Stare at a wall, reorganize your sock drawer, sit quietly and contemplate the existence of humanity. All of these are far more terrifying than Countdown.
Overall Score: 1/5