Movie review: Countdown

We’re going back to Netflix for this movie. The first thing I’ll say is this felt like a Netflix original, Blumhouse-produced movie. When I found out it was actually released in theaters (way back in 2019), I was surprised. Maybe you’re the kind of person who loves Netflix original horror movies. I’m… not exactly.

But before I get too judgemental, I will say the movie has a slew of established actors, with credits in everything from You to Twilight. So there are some familiar faces, a very modern premise, and a dumb movie tagline: Death? There’s an app for that!

So let’s dig in and review this app. I mean this movie.

Apps and Appetizers

First up, this movie does that weird thing where it starts with a group of friends who are unrelated to the rest of the movie. Their only purpose is to say, “Hey, look, this creepy app really predicts deaths!” I would call this a movie appetizer; you get a taste of what’s to come, but it doesn’t do much for you.

While I love appetizers, I do not love movie appetizers. Just get to the main story, already. Even when it’s done well (and this isn’t), it’s a waste of time. Like 15 minutes out of a 90-minute movie. That’s 1/6 of the movie! (Didn’t even need an app for that math.)

Apps, Apps, Apps

The premise of this movie is: Download this app. It tells you when you die. If you try to not die, some weird demon comes and throws you around your bathroom until you die.

So, I mean… Okay? The premise is consistent throughout the movie, at least. Well, kind of. Whenever someone downloads the app and it’s like “You have 7 minutes,” they obviously try not to die. But whereas the demon comes to kill some people, other times it’s just an accident that kills them. This doesn’t make sense to me.

I’d have liked this movie more if the demon wasn’t involved. Say they don’t go on an airplane because they’re afraid it’ll crash, and they were supposed to die on the plane. Instead of a demon guy coming to clobber them, it should just be an accident. Like a car crash or falling down the stairs. That would feel more… suspenseful, I guess? In a real-life sort of way.

Scares and Shares

What’s a horror movie without jump scares, right? (The answer is: better.)

This movie has your typical dozen-or-so jump scares. That’s what made me think it was a Netflix original, honestly, because Netflix (and Blumhouse) are super reliant on these. I’d say about 3 or 4 of the jump scares land. And a few of them are downright stupid.

But hey, lazy jump scares are fine. They’re part of the genre, in a typical horror movie like this. What’s worse, though, is the info-dumping.

Sharingggggg is Not caring

This movie has the unfortunate illness known as excessive info-dumping. Why take time to tease out a character’s backstory when you can just have them explain everything in a 3-minute conversation and then make out? That’s easier, right?

Well, it makes for a very stale cast of characters. There’s no real emotional connection to them. Just some people with some facial expressions who talk about their backstory twice and call it a night. Even the main character’s dad (who looks a bit like Obi-Wan Kenobi at first) is only in the movie for, maybe, 60 seconds?

Eh. Just a lot of eh.

Dialogue and Demons

The dialogue in the movie goes back and forth between “Hey, nice line,” and “Oh, no, that was horrible.” This is also a feature of Blumhouse movies. Are we sure this wasn’t produced by them?

(This studio, Styx, also made The Boy, The Gift, and Bye-Bye Man. So they have a very mixed record.)

The humor is the same way. Some jokes land, others are laughable (not in a good way). But what really sticks with you from this movie is the ending. Have you been looking for some nice whiplash? Well, you’re in luck.

The End, Thankfully

First off, the way they “undo the curse” is pretty strange, but I don’t think it’s cliche, so I’ll give them that. This leads to the ending, which is… a lot.

First, it’s almost offensive. I never condone *spoilers, skip ahead 1 paragraph* suicide as a way to “beat the bad guy.” It’s not cool and not a good ending. But then it sort of redeems itself, even though it’s predictable. So in the end, still not good, but not offensive at least.

Spoilers over.

But at the ending, there’s another bad cliffhanger. Like cringe-inducing, hysterically bad. Why can’t I avoid these? How do I always find them?

This movie takes it up a notch, though. Not only is there a bad cliffhanger, there’s a bad cliffhanger POST CREDITS SCENE! It’s like a freaking cherry on a very messy sundae.

So yeah, this movie is worth watching just for that.


Oh, there’s also a real countdown app. So check that out here and figure out when you’re gonna die.

Overall: 4/10

I mean, it’s a fine movie. I’m probably being too harsh on it. But for a movie released in theaters, I expected more. You should check it out if you want a humorous, sometimes scary movie. It’s only 90 minutes, so that’s another saving grave. But I gotta give it a 4, because of the debacle ending.

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