Death? There’s a movie for that: Countdown

I’d have more fun watching my countdown timer tick by, than watch this movie again.

I’d have more fun watching my countdown timer tick by, than watch this movie again.

Arshad Mohammad, Staff Writer

Every year, when Halloween rolls around, one thing I always look forward to is the release of new and exciting horror movies. This year I was particularly interested in the movie Countdown, directed by Justin Dec and starring Elizabeth Lail. The movie opened the weekend of October 25 to $8,865,082 and garnered fairly positive reactions from the general public. On the other hand, film critics haven’t been as enthusiastic about the movie. If you were looking for a deep, thought-provoking horror movie, I’d suggest you watch Us instead.

A nurse, Quinn, decides to download a popular app called Countdown, a timer that counts down to the exact moment you will die. To her surprise, Quinn’s app shows she only has two days before her death and to make things worse, a dark, frightening figure begins stalking her. At first, she believes this is a silly prank app, but when other people begin mysteriously dying at the time predicted by the app, she realizes this is more than that and sets out to stop the deaths before time runs out.

There’s definitely a supernatural force behind the app. When Quinn tries to delete the app off her phone it reappears, she even buys a new phone only to have the app download automatically once again. In reality, companies like Apple or Android would never allow such an app to make it on to the store. Imagine finding it on the App Store with reviews like, “Kooldood366: 5/5, great app, I died the second it predicted I would”. When I first watched the trailer, I was excited to see the dilemma characters would have to face before downloading the app. Would you want to know the exact moment you were about to die? Unfortunately, the movie did little to capitalize on this opportunity and instead had characters download the app on impulse without any decision making whatsoever. Inspired by the trailer a fan did create a copy of the app, which was taken down by Apple within weeks. Lucky for us, when the producers heard about this they partnered with the creator of the app to relaunch it as publicity for the movie. Now you too can deal with the traumatic realization of your exact moment of death!

Horror is generally a hard genre to pull off. The plot needs to be scary and unpredictable, both of which were not components of Countdown. It follows a stereotypical, horror movie storyline and falls short of any authenticity. Predictability can be a useful trait for some movies, but in the case of a unique concept such as Countdown, it’s a major letdown. The film is made up of common horror characteristics, lacking the creativity and thought needed to make this a worthwhile film. There’s barely any character development, aside from the sexual harassment Quinn faces in a subplot of the movie. However, the subplot fits so poorly with the rest of the plot, that the commentary feels exploitative of movements against sexual harassment.

The movie is an hour and 30 minutes long but feels like it drags on for much, much longer. The storyline was so boring and cliche that I’d hoped my timer would end within the next five minutes (fortunately, it didn’t). For a horror movie, there isn’t much horror. The movie’s graphics are decent but are neither scary or gory enough to be disturbing. Countdown heavily relies on jump scares, which only made it fun to watch the movie than actually enhance the plot. That being said, if you’re just looking for a movie that will get your adrenaline pumping, this is the one for you. 


Rating: ⅖