Saturday, February 1, 2020

Movie Reviews: Countdown

directed by Justin Dec
This is a predictable PG-13 horror movie where attractive young people do stupid things to keep the story moving. There are jump scares every other frame. But at least the Black guy doesn't die first. So there's that. These movies all have a certain rhythm. 

Someone does something questionable, like buying an ancient lamp from an elderly Roma lady, desecrating a grave, or partying at a wicked family's deserted ancestral home. Bad things happen. Someone with more brain cells than your average door knob realizes that something isn't right. This person, usually with some skeptical friends or supportive strangers, tracks down a paranormal expert.

Sometimes the expert is an incompetent clown. Sometimes the expert has lost faith and must be cajoled back into action. Sometimes the expert is retired.Sometimes the expert is eager to assist and kick a$$ for the Lord!. Sometimes malevolent forces eliminate the expert before he can share critical knowledge. Sometimes the expert is secretly working for malevolent forces. 

The friends and/or last survivor make their final stand against the forces of evil.  Maybe there's a disbelieving cop or other authority figure who once arrested or otherwise hindered the heroes/heroines. At the end that person usually helps. He (or she) validates the group's story, gets busy with the attractive lead character, or sacrifices himself for the attractive lead character. Countdown didn't break any new ground. I thought the 90 minute run time was too long. The movie touches some interesting points about fate and predestination. 

There is an old folk tale that supposedly comes from the Middle East. An oracle tells a rich man that he will meet the Angel of Death in City A tomorrow. The rich man doesn't believe the oracle but sure enough the next day the rich man sees Death walking towards him. Strangely enough Death looks surprised. 

Panicking, the rich man flees Death, running to far away City B. Confident that he's cheated Death, the man opens the door to his new home only to find Death waiting. Before the man dies, Death calmly tells the man that he was surprised to see him the other day because God told Death that Death would meet the man in this city today.

Some young people discover a new phone app called Countdown that tells them how much time they have until their death. Some people get 30 years, 40 years, 60 years. But other people get a message claiming they have only hours or days to live.

A young woman downloads the Countdown app. It states she only has a few hours to live. Her boyfriend doesn't believe this; he offers to drive her home. However since the boyfriend is drunk the woman declines the ride and walks home. 

She gets a message on her phone stating that she broke the Countdown user agreement. Panicking the woman rushes home. In the mean time her drunk boyfriend has had a car accident. He's badly hurt. 

But a tree branch has impaled the seat where his honey would have sat. Just as the woman's countdown time reaches its final ten seconds something unseen in the woman's house kills her.

Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) is a new RN. She's assigned to assist the above fellow from the accident. This guy feels guilty about his girlfriend's death and has downloaded the Countdown app. The app says he will die during his surgery time. Quinn tries to convince him that's it's all random but she can't really spend a lot of time with this fellow as she's trying to avoid the touchy-feely and harassing Doctor Sullivan (Peter Facinelli) who would just love to "properly welcome" her to his staff. When the accident victim also dies in a freak accident, Quinn gets curious and downloads Countdown. No one accused anyone in this film of being too bright.

Quinn's time is also short. Quinn starts seeing things. When Quinn tries to delete the app at a cell phone store she gets into what could have been a serious altercation. But a tall dark stranger Matt (Jordan Calloway) comes to her assistance. Chivalry aside, Matt also has a problem with Countdown. Perhaps by working together the duo can save their lives?

I wouldn't have enjoyed this film on the big screen. It was okay as a Saturday afternoon type movie. It was hampered by the PG-13 rating. It wasn't exactly mediocre but maybe a notch below decent. 
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