Starring: Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Bateman
Director: Justin Dec
Running Time: 90 mins
Countdown is an American film about a popular app which tells you exactly how long you have left to live, and a group of people who seek to fight back against it before their own time runs out.
As stupid as it sounds, I really thought that Countdown was going to be a fun, crazy horror movie that was just as funny as it was ridiculous. Unfortunately, despite the potential of its insane premise, the film is painfully dull, lacking any form of excitement or suspense, and equally does little to entertain on a more superficial, brain-dead level.
The problem with Countdown is that it seems entirely set on being the most generic horror movie ever made. It has all the ingredients of every other teen horror, from a seemingly endless supply of blonde women, a couple of fat and weird side characters, and a collection of poorly executed on-screen deaths that are in no way scary or even entertaining.
I really don’t know why, but there’s a part of me that really expected the world from this movie. In truth, the story here is pretty much the same as Final Destination, only with a smartphone app counting down to every character’s demise. I thought that was going to be a really fun, stupid story filled with crazy twists a little like my ultimate guilty pleasure, Unfriended.
However, there’s so much about Countdown that squanders the chance to provide an exciting or entertaining watch. The Countdown app itself actually ruins any suspense or thrill when the characters start to die, given that you just find yourself watching the clock and not caring about anything else they’re doing.
Meanwhile, the film for some reason goes into a supernatural realm that feels totally out of place for its premise. It’s a bunch of young adults trying to decode a phone app, yet we’re inexplicably dragged into a world of religion, demons and ghosts too.
What’s more, the story tries to shoe in a serious story about sexual assault and false accusations. Now, that’s an important message, but it feels totally irrelevant to everything else going on in the story, and any timely or sobering drama that it strikes up is entirely cheapened by the idiotic horror antics going on elsewhere.
Those are symptoms of the movie taking itself way too seriously, and it bites back as the film becomes more and more dull as it goes on. It’s not the ludicrously entertaining teen horror that it really could have been, but rather a load of rubbish…and not much else.
The only positive here comes in the form of the lead performances by Elizabeth Lail and Jordan Calloway. They’re not exceptional, but in a film with one of the most boring and stupid screenplays I’ve come across in a while, they are a remarkably likeable pair on screen, who act far more intelligently than you’d expect for such a generic horror movie.
Overall, I thought Countdown was a terrible movie. Boring, lacking any tension or excitement, and a waste of a potentially hilarious and chaotic horror premise. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 5.4.