If ever there was a movie tailor made for Netflix, a movie intended to bypass movie theaters altogether, Countdown is the film. Countdown is not a Netflix release. It is from the fairly new STX Films, responsible for more box office bombs and misses (UglyDolls, The Best of Enemies, The Happytime Murders, I Feel Pretty, Second Act, Adrift, Peppermint), than hits (Hustlers and The Upside). Countdown will without a doubt fall into the former category.
The general plot of the film revolves around an app that allows its users to find out exactly, to the second, when they will die. Will you live to be 100, or die in within the next 24 hours? But why some are seemingly murdered by demonic spirits and don’t die natural deaths or from accidents, is the big mystery.
The PG-13 movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a horror film, a supernatural thriller, a comedy, or a teen romance film. Its attempts at each genre fail miserably.
Before the title of the film appears on screen the film has disposed of its first victim, a teenage girl.
The cast of the film is as forgettable as its plot. The closest actor in the film resembling a star is the D-list, at best, Peter Facinelli (a throwaway character in the Twilight films). His character in Countdown is a despicable Doctor who falsely accuses the main character of the film Quinn, a newly minted nurse, (Elizabeth Lail), of sexually harassing him. Jordan Calloway, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Dillon Lane, Tichina Arnold and Lana McKissack are the other ‘stars’ who do anything but shine in this picture. Real life comics Tom Segura and Valente Rodriguez (from George Lopez) have minor roles.
The screenplay, as is the case lately with almost every movie that features characters being killed, is written in a way that actually makes you want to see anyone or everyone in the film meet their demise as soon as possible. In Countdown, which clocks in at 90 minutes (one of the reasons the film gets a D- grade instead of an F), not one of the characters has any endearing qualities.
There is a scene in the morgue where one of the characters that has been killed is lying on a gurney, covered from the waist down. Nurse Quinn is checking on him for some reason, when his hand falls to the floor and his eyes move to look directly at her. If the screenwriters had had a sense of humor, which they clearly are devoid of, even though they attempted to pepper the film with comedic elements, they would have written into that scene – dead man on gurney gets spontaneous erection and scares the bejesus out of Nurse Quinn. That would have been much better than his hand falling to the floor and his eyes moving in the direction of the nurse and would have allowed for an actual laugh, and not at the screenplay itself.
Right after the end credits start to roll there is a scene featuring Segura. It sets everything up for a sequel. If there is a sequel to this film, (and I doubt there will be), it will be a straight to steaming title.