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28th October 2019

This Is Not A Gameshow

We all know that spending too much time on your phone is never a good idea. The countless hours on social media, trying to reach another level in your favourite game or watching multiple cat videos could harm you.

Well, at least it’s not as harmful as the countdown app, created by writer/director Justin Dec (“Boats”, “Rolling”). He shows us, in a chilling, entertaining and secretive movie, what peer pressure, curiosity and a deadly app can do to us. “Countdown” is right in time for Halloween.

Having several drinks, music blasting out of the speakers and just sitting around with her friends. Courtney (Anne Winters) is having another great evening. One that will take a deadly turn when she’s forced by her friends to download Countdown, an app that tells you when you will die.

According to it, Courtney just has a few hours to live and while everyone seems to be laughing it away, the laughter will turn into tears when it turns out to be true.

Her boyfriend Evan (Dillon Lane) has a severe accident on that same night but he survives as Countdown mentioned that his time on earth is still not up. He’s being taken care of by the just graduated nurse Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail), who got curious about that app.

Led by her curiosity and her colleagues, she decides to download the app. One wrong decision that will change her life forever as it seems she only has only three days to live. As if things aren’t worse enough, she’s being haunted by a mysterious figure. Will she find a way to save her life or is her time running out once and for all?

Ok yes, we’re already going to admit it. Some moments in “Countdown” can be a little bit predictable and if you’re a massive fan of a horror film then you might find “Countdown” not scary enough.

If you’re up for some good scares, a horror film with humouristic moments and an original movie with an interesting plot, then you should check out “Countdown”.

While Dec isn’t afraid of showing us some clichés in the storyline, “Countdown” still feels like an appealing and certainly original concept, mostly because of the modern and relatable elements in this movie.

First of all, we’re pretty sure that if there would be an app like Countdown, most of us would give it a shot. In this movie, you also see the “is the video fake or not” question turning up multiple times and in this age where fake news is spreading like never before, this is a question we ask ourselves every day.

There’s also the need for keeping up with the latest trends, especially when it comes to technology. Quinn isn’t keen on trying the app but due to the pressure of her surroundings, she decides to do it. Yep, technology takes over their lives and ours.

The characters in this movie are both hits and misses. The biggest hit is without a doubt Lail (“Unintended”, “Without”) as the lead. Most of the time, the leading characters in horror films are blond, pretty and not so smart.

While Quinn is the first two, she’s more intelligent than any protagonist in these kinds of films. Lail puts on both a smart, caring and beautiful display as the devoted nurse as well as a dark, intimidating and merciless one as the scary young woman trying to survive. Lail is being surrounded by very capable talent.

Her character comes in contact with the application thanks to Evan. Lane (“Charlie Says”, “Boogeyman Pop”) portrays this young man with many emotions and it becomes even more intimate when he’s starring in front of Winters, who plays his on-screen girlfriend. Winters (“Night School”, “Mom and Dad”) does that in a charming, emotional and fascinating way.

There are some clichés in the storyline and the most obvious one is the one between Dr. Sullivan (Peter Facinelli) and Quinn. You can probably already guess what’s about but in case you can’t: It’s the young nurse taking the blame for the unwanted advance of her senior doctor.

This could have easily been left out but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Facinelli’s (“Running with the Devil”, “Asher”) performance. We can feel that “pervert” vibe thanks to this fine and on-point acting.

Her male patient died mysteriously and a male colleague is forcing himself onto her. Seems that Quinn attracts the wrong kind of men. However, there’s still some hope and that comes in the form of Matt Monroe (Jordan Calloway).

It’s obvious how the story between them will evolve but don’t let that stop you from seeing this. The wonderful and emotional performance of Calloway (“Always a Bridesmaid”, “Legacy”) is worth seeing the clichés.

A horror film wouldn’t be anything without the perfect combination between the score and the cinematography. Yes, the film doesn’t have anything new or innovative to offer that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the bombastic drums and screeching violins and a dark, gloomy and sinister cinematography Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans and Maxime Alexandre provide this film with. We can assure that “Countdown” has multiple good scares lined up for you thanks to that.

How many times have you’ve read the terms and conditions when downloading a new app? Pretty sure you’ll do it more after watching “Countdown”. This latest film from Dec has some flaws but if you put them aside you will see a very thrilling, entertaining and well-performed film.

You can read our interview with writer and director Justin Dec here.

You can read our interview with actor Jordan Calloway here.

When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live.

25th October 2019

Justin Dec

Justin Dec

Running Time:
1h 30min

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