Would you want to know when you’re going to die? Countdown is an app that tells you how long you have left to live. Some people get another 60 years, some get mere hours. But, if you use the app to try and change your fate, you better get ready for torment.
Countdown follows nurse Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail) and her fight to beat the clock. After finding out she only has two days to live and seeing countless people meet their fate, she enlists the help of Matt (Jordan Calloway) to find a way to break the curse. Father John (P.J. Byrne) claims this a modern version of an ancient curse, and the thing about curses is that they can always be broken. They have two options, beat the clock by one second, or ensure someone dies before their time is up.
If you’re looking for a typical horror movie to give you a jump scare or two, this is your film. The lighting, camera angles, music, and special effects were all on point throughout the film, making it easy to fall for the jump scares.
This was writer and director Jusin Dec’s first feature length film, and it’s a decent start to his career. The casting of Quinn, Matt, Jordan Harris (Talitha Bateman), and Dr. Sullivan (Peter Facinelli) was done extremely well. Each actor played their part, and played it well enough to keep the audience focused on the movie at hand. The grim reaper-like demon with his nasty, horrifying hands, popping up out of nowhere and torturing his prey after breaking their “user agreement” is what made the movie worth watching.
What could have been done better, however, was the storyline. The life of Quinn and her family was pretty vague and didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, the death of her mother gave the grim reaper something to torture them with, and a reason for Quinn being distant from her family, but that specific storyline wasn’t done well enough to make the audience care. It obviously wasn’t the point of the movie, the app was, but a well thought out storyline makes the audience really invest in the movie, making it even more horrifying, and this film missed that mark.
The other storyline that was clearly only written because of certain social climates happening today, was the relationship of Dr. Sullivan trying to take advantage and force himself on Quinn. At the end of the film she tries to kill him because he downloaded the app and killing him would mean breaking the curse. While yes, the revenge scene of Quinn luring Dr. Sullivan into the unfinished part of the hospital was satisfactory, the way it all played out was not.
The storyline with Father John was also a bit moot. The background of this app being an ancient curse could have played a much bigger role in the film but because P.J. Byrne played the part as goofy and unbelievable, the point of the curse was missed completely.
Another amateur move by director Justin Dec, was the “Countdown 2.0” automatically being installed on Quinn’s phone at the very end, signifying this wasn’t over. At that point the audience was already done with the film and moving on.
Overall the horror movie does its job and gives the audience a decent scare. The acting was good, and the lighting and music especially all made the movie worth it. The grim reaper gave the audience something to be scared of and the special effects make it work. If you go into the film expecting a masterpiece, you’ll be disappointed. But if you go in looking for a typical low budget horror movie, you’ll leave satisfied.