Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
The PG-13 junior high “horror” movie Countdown was released in theaters way back in October of 2019. It’s a junior high movie because the only people who’d actually be afraid of something like Countdown is someone who hasn’t gone through puberty yet.
I vaguely remember the trailers and knew it was getting a theatrical release. Even at the time I remember thinking it wouldn’t last 2 weeks in theaters because no one would be moronic enough to buy a ticket for something so awful when Joker and the Zombieland sequel were still in theaters.
I was wrong. Countdown lasted 1 week in theaters before it was pulled.
Recent polls of local movie theaters show that in lieu of people in auditoriums during screenings of Countdown, 2 births took place (1 Cesarean), multiple drug deals, 36 cases of squatting, and 5 podcasts (of which no one listed to). At least someone benefited from Countdown, because it sure wasn’t the audience, or the actors involved, or anybody else who accidentally walked into this thinking they were going to watch The Addams Family.
Now Countdown is out on digital and soon to be available on Blu Ray and DVD.
Do you really mean that?
You and pretty much everyone else on the planet except those people related to the filmmakers, actors, and the studio that wasted its money financing this. Even after they saw it they were glad they didn’t have to pay for a ticket.
Since no one cares about this movie and no one will read this review. I can embed secret codes to the demon lords overseeing us in a very Cthulhu-like fashion. While the one or two people who actually need to see a review of Countdown to know whether they want to see it or not will get your standard review, those demons who watch and wait for us in the vastness of space will click on this to find the locations of the very tastiest of the human species.
For example. I might write the sentence “The app has a countdown clock of when the person is going to die, right down to the minute and second.”
Our demon overlords will read, “Jeff Worthington from the Midwest possesses flesh that tastes like candy. Feast on him, drink his blood and be nourished.”
Don’t. He’s the one person who actually paid to see Countdown opening weekend.
Countdown opens on a PG-13 high school party where there are no pregnant teens, everyone is drinking lite beer, and the minorities are safely lodged at the edge of the frame so as not to frighten the white people. If you didn’t see the STX Studio logo, you’d swear this was a Blumhouse production.
Some kid has just downloaded the new Countdown app. You know, the one that tells you when you’re going to die.
Because these kids are f*cking idiots, they all download the app. The dumbass with the least time to live has to drink all the remaining alcohol. Sounds like fun.
A white girl named Courtney (Anne Winters) has about 3 hours to live, according to the app. She’s understandably upset that she can’t use her white privilege to pass this death sentence onto one of those minorities at the edge of the frame. Her boyfriend Evan (Dillon Lane) is such a good boyfriend that he’s willing to drink all the alcohol so Courtney doesn’t have to.
If you’re worried about the other kids, you needn’t. In about 2 weeks someone will open fire and kill most of them.
Evan is also willing to drive Courtney home. Courtney refuses because she’s freaked out Evan will get into an accident. She a walks home, thinking she can outlast death and destiny for the next couple of hours.
She can’t, and Courtney dies in a very PG-13 bloodless way. Could there be something to this app? Yes.
You’ve seen the trailer, which pretty much gives away every relevant plot point. It’s what made you avoid this movie in the first place.
Along with Courtney’s death, Evan did get into a car accident, with a branch impaling the seat Courtney would have been in. Death waits for no one. What the app says, the app does.
Countdown opens again in a busy hospital. We meet our heroine Quinn (You’s Elizabeth Lial, making her prerequisite bad horror movie in what promises to be a solid career). She’s a student nurse, but she takes her job very seriously. She’s understanding with patients, especially one who’s about to go into surgery because he was drunk and ran his car into a tree.
Yes, it’s Evan from about 6 minutes ago and he’s freaked out because he downloaded an app that says he’s going to die during surgery. Quinn says she understands why he’s afraid to go into surgery but that app thing just sounds like something you’d hear in a mediocre horror movie that no one will see in theaters.
Quinn says she believes in Evan’s ability to not die.
Evan dies in surgery, and it looks like there are some otherworldly forces contributing to his death.
On the plus side, Quinn has just become a full-fledged nurse. Her younger sister Jordan (Talitha Bateman) and closed-off father would celebrate more, but they’re still bummed that Quinn’s mom died.
Quinn checks dead Evan’s phone and finds out that yes, his Countdown app just went to zero. There might be something her worth investigating, so even after Quinn is established as a very smart character, she stupidly downloads the app herself. It shows she only has a day left to live.
Now, Quinn and her Scooby gang featuring a black guy Matt (Jordan Calloway) who also downloaded the app and who also has less than a day to live along with a priest Father John (P. J. Byrne) who’s really into demons but (thankfully) not really into children will find if they have what it takes to live before the countdown, and therefore their lives, goes to nothing.
Because Courtney died before the credits at least the black person doesn’t die first.
What Works With Countdown
- Even if you’ve never seen any of the trailers and just read the premise of the movie, anyone would think that Countdown was something someone thought of looking through their Twitter feed, and the finished product does nothing to dissuade anyone from that notion. However, there is something to how Countdown fully embraces how ludicrous it is, so that even though you know you’re not watching a good movie, at least it’s never boring and even entertaining in its own watered down way. You know it’s bad going in, just not as terrible as you expected.
What Doesn’t Work With Countdown
- Having written all of that, there’s nothing in this movie that qualifies as scary. There are about a dozen jump scares that might have been more effective if the audience didn’t see what was coming from a 5-count away.
- More than once you wonder to yourself how much of this movie could have been shortened if the characters weren’t dumb enough to actually download the Countdown app. If they hadn’t the movie wouldn’t be much longer than the trailer.
Countdown is bad but not terrible, There’s a reason you and millions of others skipped this in theaters. Continue with that notion as it gets released on video or else you’ll be counting down the minutes until the movie’s over.