Review by Camden Ferrell
In a world full of smartphones and apps, Countdown is a horror movie that uses these modern luxuries as a means for scares. This is the feature directorial debut of Justin Dec. While it isn’t as bad as its absurd premise suggest, this is a movie that is devoid of thrills and will appeal to few.
This movie follows Quinn, a newly licensed nurse, who is tormented by a demonic app that predicts your time of death. She attempts to uncover the workings of the app and survive past her time of death. This is a premise that may be somewhat fresh since it does deal heavily with technology, but it is a gimmick that gets old very quickly.
Like many horror films, it relies too heavily on jump scares to rattle the audience. The excessive booming of the score and the diegetic sounds in the film feel cheap and half-baked. Even the build up of suspense is weak, and there never is any fear when watching this film.
Unfortunately, this is a movie that isn’t written especially well. It relies on familiar tropes and clichés that make this movie completely unoriginal despite its premise. The dialogue is cheesy and predictable, and its attempts at depth and drama fall completely flat.
This movie is led by Elizabeth Lail (You). She does her best considering her weak material, but it isn’t nearly enough to bring personality and life to her scenes. The supporting cast consists of Jordan Calloway, Peter Facinelli, and Valente Rodriguez. They are all given underdeveloped characters with lifeless lines that are incredibly forgettable.
One of the few merits of this movie come from its attempt to develop some lore around its premise. It finds a lot of its inspiration in the texts of the Bible, which is nothing groundbreaking in this genre, but it does show that there was some thought put into the crafting of this story. It can be heavy-handed, but the attempt is still there.
Ultimately, this is a film that panders to its target demographic too heavily. It doesn’t care about consistent storytelling or in-depth character development. It only aims to deliver cheap thrills supported by a careless script.
Countdown may appeal to casual moviegoers looking for a mindless pastime with friends this weekend, but others need not check out this painfully bland horror film. It is not scary, and its short 90-minute runtime feels significantly longer than it should. This is a movie that will make you check your watch to countdown the minutes until it is over.
Countdown is in theaters now.