Movie #283 2020: Countdown (2019)

No, nerds. This is not the origin story of that quiz show starring Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman. (Sorry if you’re not British – that joke will go straight over your head.)

Rather, this is a teen horror flick about a killer app. Sounds lame, but hear me out on this. Our protagonist here is Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) who quite stupidly gets lured into downloading an app that reportedly tells you how long you have to live. After that, that’s it. Every phone you will ever purchase will come with the app pre-loaded onto it, and there’s no escaping your fate.

I won’t lie, I actually don’t hate the premise for this. I do wish it was a slasher instead of a weird, paranormal zombie demon type affair. A killer app though? Fun idea. Again, sounds lame. But in a modern day world with people tweeting shit like ‘retweet or you’ll be cursed by the pond witch’, this is a very current, commercial idea for a horror movie and will have you sending on those chain letter emails like it’s 2008. You know, just in case.

The two leads are decent enough (especially Jordan Calloway as Matt), but the performances elsewhere are often wooden and downright ridiculous. Dr. Cullen (I don’t know his character’s name, but you know… the Vampire Dad from Twilight) is probably the worst of the lot and there’s very little to write home about on the acting front. Of course, that’s to be expected in low budget movies such as this.

Unfortunately Countdown falls in the realm of the modern horror film that relies on jump scares. Again, it would have worked much better as a thriller/slasher flick not dissimilar to the Scream franchise, but we can’t always have what we want, I guess.

Sloppy and all over the place, the tone of this movie is utterly confused. There are some funny moments within the script and it’s definitely an attempt to reach a Happy Death Day type of atmosphere, but then it’s super dark the next minute so it just makes the genre lines too blurred. Not enough focus in the slightest, which is annoying because if they made it one of those more fun, happy-go-lucky horror types it might be much more enjoyable. 

Though there wasn’t anything extraordinary about this, I was still entertained throughout. Whilst the ending was corny it was pretty much the only way it could have ended, so at least it wrapped up well enough. Wouldn’t recommend, but I have to say the run time flew by… Definitely not the worst horror movie you’ll watch this Halloween.

Countdown is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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