Quinn is just a nurse looking to do a good job, but when a creepy new app tells her she’s going to die in two days (and she has reasons to believe it just might be true) she has to pull out all the stops to save herself and her sister from it’s technohorror devices. Can she stop this real spooooky app from killing her? Find out in… Countdown.
How?! There a new app out there that’s all the rage with the kiddies. That’s because it tells you when you’re gonna die, and guess what? It’s kinda right. Oh no! So when Quinn hears about this from one of her patients she can’t help but check it out herself and finds to her horror that she only has three days left to live. Double oh no! Realizing that it says she’ll die on a family outing to her mother’s grave she cancels only to have the phone say she broke the user agreement for the app. Soon she’s getting all haunted by demons and her phone is acting all crazy and the doctor at the hospital is sexually harassing her and she blamed herself for her mom’s death and her sister also opens the app and finds out that she’s going to die at the same time as Quinn. Gah! What’s a girl to do in this crazy world? While trying to get a new phone without the app she meets Matt, a cute guy who is in the same predicament. They go on a quest to solve their problem. First stop: a kooky priest who tells them that it’s all a curse that can be broken by causing or preventing someone’s death. Second stop: the phone store guy who totes hacks the app and confirms that it’s indeed a curse. Third stop: her sister’s house so they can form a power trio ready to rock and roll. Unfortunately Matt immediately dies on their first attempt to break the curse. Oooops. Uh, so I guess Quinn better go kill that creepy doctor instead. Vigilante justice! But the demon itself gets in the action and stops them. Only one thing left to do: grab some drugs and overdose, thus distracting the demon and saving your sister. Then smash open that Chekhov’s narcan and be revived to live a long fulfilling life… or will they. Bum bum bum. Big Question: the classic, how long did it take for the demon to code his app? The film actually nicely sidesteps this by totally ignoring it… correct choice.
Why?! Not to die, duh. As for the bad guy (a literal demon), well it’s also pretty boring in that way. He’s a demon! Really the most interesting question is why it uses an app for its evil scheme. Perhaps it realizes the scary truth: that the demon itself isn’t the most horrifying aspect of life… it’s our addiction to our phones. Yah dig?
Who?! It’s been a while since we had a solid uncredited performance. But Countdown did have one that popped out. That’s because Austin Zajur, who is the wisecracking kid in the opening scene of the film, went uncredited here. None of the other kids did and he probably had the most lines of any of them… so why? Why uncredited? A true curiosity.
What?! There are some mild product placements in here (doordash is one mentioned off hand I think). But everything is harder with a LIVE film. Instead I will reiterate the heavy-handedness of the Chekhov’s Narcan. Whoever decided that they needed to set up the narcan scene by explicitly establishing its use on screen in an earlier scene made a huge mistake. It just made everything that followed that much more obvious and predictable.
Where?! I’m sure this is clear if I could stop the film during the showing and really inspect a few things. But alas, it’s hard to do that LIVE. I’m gonna give this an incomplete. There is a chance that it’s more than obvious when we rewatch the film in prep for Countdown2.0.
When?! This I actually did catch. At the end of the film we see Quinn visiting the grave of her mother. They read a newspaper regarding events surrounding the creepy doctor, so it all points to it being not that long after the end of the film. We see the grave, April 2nd if I’m remembering correctly, and Quinn says “Happy birthday mom.” So I think this takes place in early Spring. But don’t hold me to this, C+.
I generally enjoy horror films. Even the bad ones we watch for BMT. This is definitely not the worst we’ve endured. It’s biggest issue is how predictable it is. We get a random scene in the beginning of the film of Quinn helping revive someone from an overdose using narcan and I’m sitting there being like “why in the hell did the filmmakers think the film needed this sce…ohhhhhhhh.” And so I sat there waiting for her to use narcan in some way to survive. The same goes for the sexual harassment storyline. Even if you don’t watch horror films this all is obvious… it’s more like “screenwriting 101” going on. As they say, if you see narcan in the first act, it better be used in the second act. Chekhov’s narcan. But on the positive side, I felt like they did a good job with the creepiness of the visuals and monster design. It actually looked good, which isn’t always the case, even when the film as a whole isn’t that scary. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! As has become tradition we ventured out into the crisp autumn air to watch a not-scary horror film with a bunch of teenagers. Literally, it is one of the things I look forward to the most each year, which is demented. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – This film looked ultra dumb. An app that kills you? That is like a parody horror film trailer from SNL or something. And when it turned out that for real, it’s an app that kills you? I’m in. I will gladly watch the shitty jump scares (probably) wash over me as they set up their sequel that is never going to be made. Let’s do it. What are my expectations – Absolute best case scenario is The Bye Bye Man where there is some evil thing that looks ridiculous and makes you laugh. Worst case is Flatliners where it is just kind of eerie, shiny, and cynically made. Let’s hope for that best case.
The Good – I actually appreciate the construction of the film more than I would expect. While I disliked the idea of the priest character, I did appreciate that they tried to lampshade it a bit (like … why would almost any priest know anything about demons in reality? They wouldn’t, and they go to quite the length to explain that to the audience). I burst out laughing when they set up Countdown 2.0 at the end, the sheer gall of it made me actually love the idea. Bring it on, I’ll go see the Countdown franchise’s latest garbage horror film every year, why not? As for the one non-ironic thing I liked about it: I liked the creature design in the end. It is hard to create a creature that is scary, unique, and doesn’t look like shit, but they mostly managed to do that which is cool.
The Bad – The entire film is a predictable mess. In order to use the anti-narcotics drugs in the end to save Quinn they felt the need to create a whole scene showing it being used. In order to legitimatize Quinn trying to kill Dr. Rape (not his name, although that would have been appropriate heyyyyooo) they had to explain quite clearly (twice) that the curse is broken if someone dies earlier than expected. Beyond that it also isn’t that scary, although credit where it is due, the opening kill was well done. I also think there were far too few kills in the film. Thinking on it the answer is what? Three? Three actual kills in the film (this doesn’t count the main character watching someone die in a YouTube video). That’s pretty weak.
The BMT – It is an annual tradition, the bad horror film. I would put this above Slender Man (which was boring) and below The Bye Bye Man (which was hilarious). Something like Rings is a decent comp maybe? A film which is obviously not good, but there are kernels of good ideas in it so I’m glad I watched it. Did it meet my expectations? Not entirely, but I did enjoy enough of it, as I said, that I’m not upset I spent the money to see it in theaters. See you next year not-scary-horror-film.
Roast-radamus – Hmmm, I presume the film is set in Los Angeles, but I didn’t actually catch it. I will give a small non-award shoutout to the temporal setting which is fairly unique: it literally gives you a running clock such that you know precisely when every event takes place. Do we give awards for Chekov’s Blank (What?)? I think we do, and Chekov’s Narcan is waaaaaay up there. And I’ll give it a Worst Twist (How?) nod for it just telling you multiple times how the entire movie is going to operate. The actual twist is that she kills herself with a massive dose of morphine (I assume) and then can be brought back to life right after. And it’ll be in the running for the Live! Award as well.
StreetCreditReport.com – It would be tough for it to get on any lists since it just came out, but it did find a place at the bottom of this rundown. Other than that we can only wait. I doubt it’ll get many awards as people will effectively forget about it in a week or so (plus it is a box office success which isn’t very fun to poke fun at in the end). But I would imagine it’ll end up in some top 5 worst horror films of 2019 lists eventually, I bet genre fans hate it.
BMT Live Theater Review – Ah, back to Vue, this time in the very posh Westfield shopping center. They showed this in a very intimate 30-40 person theater on the top floor of the mall, which actually worked very well. I got one of the last tickets for the 5PM showing (phew) and the theater was packed with teenagers looking for thrills. And scream and gasp they did, much to my delight (it was fun hearing people squirm and shriek at times). The highlight of the showing? When the main character very clearly explains “Hey, I’m trying to kill this guy because it’ll break the curse, remember? Remember when the priest character told us that before?” and the entire theater just gasps with a loud “Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah” … what movie are you watching?! They’ve explained this like four times. It definitely made me wonder a bit about how people actually watch movies, it just seems crazy one could pay so little attention to not get that without it being explained. B+, loved the small theater with the packed audience, but Vue Westfield is also pricey with about 30 minutes of ads before the showing. Hurts the viewing experience IMO.