Initially when I heard about this movie, I couldn’t help but think of a sketch from popular British comedy series, The I.T. Crowd.
It did also smack of clutching at straws to try and get a horror vehicle out there that taps into the latest technology and social media trends and invokes the same sense of fear and dread that J Horror films such as The Ring or Kairo subjected into the mainstream.
With previous attempts such as Unfriended missing the mark, I went in with my expectations low. What I found was a film that was able to elevate those expectations, while admittedly it didn’t blow my mind, director Justin Dec manages to wrangle enough out of the plotline to make it both enjoyable and watchable.
We get the inevitable precursor explanation of the virus mobile app called Countdown, which correctly predicts the users time of death. A group of teenagers discuss this at a party where they provoke each other into downloading the app and participating in it as a sort of dare moment. The outcome. One of said teenagers is told she only has hours to live and tries to change her fate only for the app to prove true with its prediction.
The story then revolves further around Nurse Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail – Dead of Summer) who has just finished up her internship at the hospital and been appointed to a full time position. Quinn learns about the app from a patient who was the boyfriend of our first victim. The app tells her that she only has 3 days left to live and with it opens up the labyrinth for Quinn to fall down in order to try and outlast and outwit this curse.
Joining her on her voyage is Matt Monroe (Jordan Calloway – Riverdale) who is predicted to die a few hours before Quinn, and her sister, Jordan (Talitha Bateman – Annabelle: Creation) who also downloads the app. (Insert facepalm emoji).
There’s a fairly decent supporting cast in Matt Letscher (Flash) as the single Dad, Peter Facinelli (The Twilight saga), but the stand out has to go to P.J. Byrne (The Gift) as Father John going against the religious, disciplined stereotype, busting out more as a fanboy of the occult if anything else, which felt refreshing.
So despite my predisposition that this film reached higher than my expectations, it still failed to deliver on the horror front and go beyond the realms of previous genre movies in the scare department. Nor did it offer anything too original.
It did entertain though, and I can’t help but feel this was down to its cast more than the plotline or directorial choices.
- Saul Muerte