“Countdown” is directed by Justin Dec, who has been part of the miscellaneous crew on films like “Instant Family” and TV shows like “Parks and Recreation.” Now he is here putting out his feature-length debut. This stars Elizabeth Lail (Once Upon a Time, Dead of Summer), Jordan Calloway (Unfabulous, ER), Talitha Bateman (Nine Lives, The 5th Wave), Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris, Happily Divorced), P.J. Byrne (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Legend of Korra), Peter Facinelli (Twilight, Nurse Jackie), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why, Night School), Tom Segura (Instant Family, Cutman), and Charlie McDermott (The Middle, Windy Acres) in a film where there’s an app that will determine when you die. When someone downloads the app on their phone, they can go in, agree to the terms and conditions of the app, and find out how much time they have left. We discover that some people have a lot of time left and they go on living in the moment. But all hell breaks loose when the movie’s main character, Quinn, finds out she has less than a few days to live. She comes to a decision that she wants to find a way to cheat the system and live to fight another day, so we have our movie.
Let’s talk about the concept of “Countdown.” Ultimately, the concept is one that would definitely sound good on paper. I would not mind someone presenting me with the idea and having me go write a script regarding it. I think there are some cool things you can do with that. Although I will say personally, if it were me, I would probably never download an app like this. For all I know, it could be real. Maybe it’s fake, but maybe not. But death is something I personally do not want to know about. Granted, there probably will be a time in my life where I am going to have to accept that death is inevitable. Dying is something we all do.
Everything that has beginning has an end. -Agent Smith (THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS)
Speaking of dying, it’s almost hard to decide if I would rather die or watch “Countdown” again, because jeez a loo this movie’s garbage! I’ll be honest with you, this sort of verdict is not that surprising for me however, because this movie has a first time feature director, a lot of actors who for the most part, I don’t really recognize, and it’s a PG-13 horror flick. Granted, being a PG-13 horror flick doesn’t automatically mean your movie sucks, but there’s a vibe that can be displayed with movies like these that can feel recognizable and it’s not always the best feeling in the world.
The best way I can ultimately describe “Countdown” is that it is fascinating, yet stupid. Because I am willing to give points for the concept, but this also comes with a lot of suspension of disbelief. There is a lot that happens that if you have your brain turned on, you’ll probably question it.
Speaking of questioning things, I also happened to occasionally question some of the writing decisions they made with this movie. When I saw the trailer online, one part that stood out was this scene that takes place in a phone store. I thought it was one of the cringiest things I have seen in recent memory. Much like the trailer, some of the cringe that I experienced there, happened to be here as well. Surprisingly though, one of the best characters in the movie happened to be the guy who ran operations at the phone store. His character is not Shakespeare-level or anything, but he serves his part in the movie, while also being a fairly charismatic plot convenience.
I have one question regarding the movie. How was the app conceived? Throughout the movie, we learn that the dreaded death tracker app might as well be partially unrealistic. But did someone on Earth create this app in their basement or something? Or did the app magically appear one day in the App Store and Google Play? But no, we’re just supposed to have own interpretations! We get no explanation whatsoever! I’m fine with a film being open to interpretation and all, some of my favorite films are laid out that way, but here it’s just bogus! I do not want to see a sequel to “Countdown,” but I’d end up buying the Blu-ray if everyone involved with the production had time to make a short film to put on the bonus features describing how the Countdown app came to life. I’d give that a watch. Maybe in six million years from now, but I’d be willing to give it a watch.
I should also point out, it is October, it is spooky season. This movie comes out about a week before Halloween, and it is in the horror genre. Is it scary? Ehh… Not entirely. There were a couple of moments that had me tilting, but it’s not like I was going to have eventual nightmares. But a lot of the scares here are not done to the level I’d prefer. And unfortunately, the characters here are pretty much all underwhelming. Even when the film tries to get serious and make me care about the characters, I don’t have the motivation to raise my arm in the air and yell “go team!” It’s been almost a week since I went to the theater to see this movie, and I am almost having trouble remembering various portions of it. This movie sort of feels like it is on that scale of disposable even though it may almost come off as a passion project.
Before I give my final verdict, I just want everyone to know that my last movie review was for a recent film that did not do well at the box office, “Jexi.” I have no idea how much money “Countdown” is going to make, it probably won’t be big, but anything’s possible. Nevertheless, if this starts a trend of films about mobile devices going nuts, I don’t know if we are going to be in for a bright future.
I mean, come on! HAVE Y’ALL SEEN “THE EMOJI MOVIE?!”
Granted, “Countdown” is nowhere near as bad as “The Emoji Movie,” but if we are getting a plethora of films in the future where the main subject is either a mobile device or something on a mobile device not cooperating, I just hope they have ten times the competence that this movie does.
In the end, “Countdown” is worth deleting off my phone, as long as it does not affect my relationship with the Terms of Service agreement. It does make me wonder though… What’s next in the mobile cinematic universe? A battle between a Twitter bird mascot army and SnapChat ghost army? A movie where millennials go to war, but instead of fighting on land with weapons, they fight in comment sections online? A film where Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are judges on a talent show? I don’t know if I want that question answered, but it’s worth asking. Maybe in the future “Countdown” could be a background noise movie during a Halloween party, but that’s about it. I’m going to give “Countdown” a 4/10.
Thanks for reading this review! It’s about two months before the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” but I want everyone to know that I WILL be seeing the film opening night. I just got my tickets recently and will be seeing the movie at 6PM. I’ll have my review up as soon as possible (I’m seeing it during finals period in school), but it’ll have no spoilers while simultaneously containing enough detail to be worth glancing at. Also, if you haven’t already, GET YOUR TICKETS! They just went on sale Monday night, they just dropped a new trailer, and I checked my theater a couple of hours after getting my tickets (I GOT MINE AS SOON AS THE SHOWTIME WAS REVEALED), my show was sold out. Get on it guys, this is gonna be a big weekend! December 19th cannot come soon enough! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your email (to get notifications in your inbox) or with a WordPress account (to be able to like and comment on my posts) and stay tuned for more great content! You also have infinity seconds to like my Facebook Page! The countdown has begun, get moving fellas! I want to know, did you see “Countdown?” What did you think about it? Or, would you like to know when you die? Send me a comment and I’ll be back with my answer! Wait… That’s pretty freakin’ hard to determine, never mind. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!