The new horror film COUNTDOWN is the literal definition of “so bad it’s good.” I was constantly laughing at inappropriate moments but I have to admit that I was a little entertained. And the acting, apart from the opening, was pretty decent as well. It had bat shit crazy mythology like last years Truth Or Dare and the ending defies and throws logic out the window. It’s also pretty predictable. I think the movie was in on the joke though. It knew how how dumb it was. Look at the damn premise, it’s about a fucking phone app that counts down to your death. I guarantee you some kind of drug was in the screenwriters system when they thought up the idea, and when they were on their computer program writing it. I’d say it is pretty lucky this thing even got fucking made, because I guarantee you there is some low rent straight to streaming platform movie out there in our universe that is just called Killer App, and is probably almost as stupid as this movie is. But seeing how last year Truth Or Dare was my guilty pleasure of 2018, Countdown is my guilty pleasure of 2019. But I warn you, this is a BAD, BAD movie.
And what is so infuriating is that it shows some potential. Some of the scares work, but only when those jump scares aren’t accompanied by a fucking giant sound to make you jump out of your seat. Unfortunately it was only a handful of moments, while the rest were your cookie cutter loud sound “fooled you” jump beats. It makes me want to get an editable version of the film, and make my own guilty pleasure “fan” cut and remove every single loud sound from all the jump scares that didn’t need them. It maybe would’ve made the movie creepier than it had any right to be. Let’s just save face, this movie is a PG-13 cheap knockoff of Final Destination, but instead of death going after these young adults…it’s another God damn demon. And I realize they had to make this force killing all these young adults something else other than death, otherwise New Line could’ve sued the shit out of everyone involved, but really, another fucking demon? Look around you, there are too many movies with too many fucking demons, there could’ve been a little more effort into figuring out something else that made it stand out from the pack.
Fortunately, the movies’ mythology is so bad shit crazy, with a laughable, yet entertaining back story, that the demon angle kind of worked after that a little bit. And the demon design, I have to admit, was pretty freaky. This whole review is going to be a bunch of unfortunately but I’ll admits, so get comfortable for this roller coaster of an opinion. I have to ADMIT, the movie actually has set ups and pay offs, and it has its own set of rules, even though some of those rules are laughable and UNFORTUNATELY almost completely rip off Final Destination 5. But the movie follows those rules, and shit doesn’t just happen to happen out of nowhere. The ending (really climax, as the obligatory sequel set up ending ending, and the mid credits scene, are eye rolling kind of stupid) though, Jesus Christ I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater this year. It completely throws everything to the wind and logic almost goes right out the fucking window. And those set ups and pay offs, while they are set up and paid off well, all of these end up being very convenient based upon the main characters profession.
The acting is part of what makes the film stay in the “so bad it’s good” range other than being just a plain bad movie. The main lead, played by Elizabeth Lail (you know her if you binge watched the first season of YOU) is actually pretty damn decent at acting scared and she displays a wide range of emotions in it that worked as well.. The other, sort of main lead (he shows up in act two) is played by Jordan Calloway, who you might know from Riverdale. His countdown ends before the main characters, and I liked the little mini arc he was given (more than the cliched protagonists for sure), and he acted better in this than he had any right to. I just wish he was in the film more. The acting at the beginning however was really jarring and I was beginning to worry if the entire ride would’ve been that cringe worthy. Thankfully it got out of that, but then it kept sticking its toes in with Peter Facinelli’s character. He plays the boss of where the main protagonist works (I’m not revealing any of their professions, you can get that info from the trailer, mainly because if you think really hard about her profession before watching the film, you could probably guess the ending pretty easily). He is basically playing a mixture of Carlisle Cullen and Mike Dexter, if they fucked and had a baby. It kind of took me out of the movie, but I forgive Facinelli, mainly because the script did him no favors. And remember, this is PG-13, there is a couple of blurred blood moments, but it is mostly not much of a gross gore or guts affair. I do have a feeling if they went all out rated R on it it might’ve been a whole lot better.
I’m almost done with this review, and I realize I haven’t even really talked about the plot, but luckily, I can do it in one sentence: A woman downloads an app that reveals when people when they are going to die via a countdown, and it reveals that she is going to die in less than 3 days, and she has to find a way to avoid her fate. Boom. Sounds like Final Destination and The Ring made a litter of kittens together huh? That’s EXACTLY what it is, in fact I’d say the prologue to the film almost rips off the beginning of The Ring beat by beat. The writer/director Justin Dec, this is his first big gig, as he’s been a miscellaneous crew member on a bunch of other films. I think if he could hone his horror craft, and realize that you don’t need a loud sound to make effective jump scares, he could possibly come up with something pretty compelling in the future. But again, this is a bad movie. Yes, so bad it is good, but I want to reiterate to you the only reason why I’m recommending it a little bit as a guilty pleasure. You will find yourself laughing hilariously all at the wrong times, but at the same time, the movie keeps your attention. That’s a little rare these days. Luckily Cinemark Rewards has this thing that if you see Hustlers, this, and 21 Bridges you get free digital copies of the movies when they hit home video, so while I own it, at least I won’t be spending anymore money on it if I want to watch and laugh at it again. But if you plan on watching a so bad its good movie with a bunch of friends late on Saturday, this movie fits that bill and might even make your night somewhat memorable.