Life’s great joy is that it is finite, from the second we’re born, until the second we kick the bucket, there is a constant timer that is constantly ticking down until an unknown date and time come to pass. In 2019, a film supposed what would happen if you could check the date that would pass away, and the terrifying forces that would come into play if you try to circumvent your supposedly predetermined destiny. All with the simple installation of a mobile app, in Countdown.
Quinn is a diligent nurse when her patient, Evan, is convinced that he will die, mainly due to a novelty phone app, and is adamant to skip surgery scheduled on the apparent hour of his predicted demise. To placate Evan’s fears, Quinn Downloads the app herself, and although alarmed that her death is scheduled very soon, she still tries to keep a rational head. When Evan does die, fleeing the surgery, Quinn soon learns that similar cases have been reported regarding the app’s previous users. She has just under three days before her death due date and must get to the bottom of this nostradamic app, and the forces that govern it, to save herself, as technology and superstition intertwine in the most dastardly ways.
Countdown wastes no time in getting to the heart of its somewhat novel premise. You get an app that tells you when you are going to die. If you try to avoid it, you’ll die anyway. This is all set up in the first few minutes of the film. Before getting to the core of its, for a lack of a better term, magic, I like how the film approaches the problem from the logical/scientific perspective first. From getting a phone expert to try and artificially add decades, by altering the source code, or other attempts at cheating are inexplicably thwarted. The rationality of Quinn is worn down as this, on the surface, preposterous proposition reveals its darker side. For those who like their scares more supernatural, there are ample heart-palpitating apparitions to ensure the user agreements are upheld, and that the audiences get a good scare. Making for a nice blend of familiar technology, and the eerie hereafter.
Throughout, I was frequently reminded of the acclaimed anthology Machine of Death, which humorously depicts how a person will die but not when or where. This is not the first property that deals with the concept nor cheating death, nor is it ever going to be the last. Possibly is not even the last in this franchise, as the film does leave a sequel hook in place. Combined with the fact that the film more than made back its modest budget, does foretell that the franchise could be picked up on probably in the future.
I have long been a champion for horror and sci-fi that asks entertaining stories based on the what-if scenarios they propose, Here, Countdown takes familiar questions, and injects some with juice for today’s younger horror-seekers to get a thrill. Finding the perfect balance between the coherent calculations of technology and the existential theology of destiny to create a spooky story that is certainly cost-effective. While your life is unfortunately limited, you can certainly find worse ways than spending your precious seconds with Countdown.
If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!