By EMMA CHANG
If you could find out exactly when you would die, would you want to know?
Well, you’re in luck, because there’s an app for that.
On Friday, Oct. 25, STX Entertainment released its newest psychological thriller, Countdown, to the big screen. Despite being one of the few prominent horror films produced this Halloween season, Countdown fails to truly bring the spooky spirit in more ways than one.
Throughout the film, the protagonist Quinn Harris discovers the Countdown app and instantly falls down a hysterical spiral after receiving her penultimate expiration date. As its name suggests, the Countdown app consists of a simple, but sinister clock that predicts when you will die, down to the exact second.
With its seemingly modern plot, Countdown should have been the perfect recipe for a new thriller, just in time for Halloween. Yet as the storyline unfolds, the film’s poor attempts at suspense and lackluster plot only leave audiences “counting down” until the movie is over.
Arguably, one of the film’s most degrading attributes is its utter lack of suspense and truly horrific lack of, well, horror, throughout.
To begin, the entire premise of the film is based on a satanic demon haunting those who seek their fate. Exciting, right? Not quite. As more and more individuals fall victim to the Countdown app, only glimpses and snippets of their murderers are seen, in a poor attempt to build suspense.
Not to mention, it is not only until the very height of the climax that their true form—wispy shadows with grotesque faces—are revealed, save from the various glimpses of demons lurking in dark corridors and stairwells. Despite not taking a physical form, the demons possess immense power and are able to just throw the protagonists around. Just when you think there will be some demonic possession or spiritual catastrophe, the entity is swiftly defeated. At this point, any viewer seeking more than repetitive jump scares and flashing lights can not help but be extremely disappointed, and frankly not surprised.
Finally, Countdown also fails to deliver a thorough and adequate ending to the foreboding tale. Instead, it not so swiftly concludes with a cliffhanger, indicating the rise of a sequel. Whereas this may be a strategic move on most producer’s part, Countdown is a failure to modern audiences and the entertainment industry that leaves absolutely no need for continuation.
Luckily, not all hope should be lost for this thriller.
One of the few extraordinary caveats that the film subtly integrates is every Countdown victim’s failure to read the “Terms and Conditions” agreement that accompany the app. It is within this agreement that lies the key to its destruction. In essence, the characters’ indifference for the content they download represents a phenomenon that most smartphone users are familiar with.
As depicted in the film and in real life, individuals are so fixated on downloading the newest applications and gaming programs that they disregard the user agreement that precedes the software. In fact, as many of us may be familiar with, most are quicker to press accept on the “Terms and Conditions” than they can download the app.
From a global point of view, Countdown perfectly expounds our youth’s misuse of technology and the sinister consequences that accompany our actions, albeit a bit more extremely. Most users take for granted the immense amount of freedom they are given on the Internet, which does not always lead to the best decisions when downloading and using various applications.
Overall, Countdown shaped up to be one of the biggest cinematic letdowns of this year. With its resounding absence of thrilling cinematic elements, uninteresting plot and uninspiring conclusion leave little to the imagination of the audience. While it may have initially held potential, the film is nothing more than a momentous letdown that reflects the momentum of today’s technology and usage crisis.
Now if you don’t mind, I will be counting down the days until a better horror movie comes out.