Monday, November 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
AD ASTRA
ARCTIC DOGS
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: INTO THE DARK
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLACK AND BLUE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FRIENDS
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: LONE WOLF MCQUADE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON
CHARLIE’S ANGELS
COUNTDOWN
CRAWL
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOWNTON ABBEY
FORD V FERRARI
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: BARBIE LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE
HATEWATCH: CHOPPED
HATEWATCH: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MONSTER, FRANKENSTEIN
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
HUSTLERS
IT: CHAPTER 2
JOKER
LAST CHRISTMAS
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
MIDWAY
MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
PLAYING WITH FIRE
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (EXTENDED CUT)
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

COUNTDOWN

PHOTO BY PHOTO COURTESY OF WRIGLEY PICTURES

COUNTDOWN


Where is it playing?: Parks Plaza, Stadium 14

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $Rent it (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

In this horror-thriller, writer, and director Justin Dec (Rolling) shows us just how spooky technology can be, when several doomed characters download an app that predicts—down to the very last second—exactly when its users will die.

If you could find out exactly when you’re going to die, would you want to know? 

Tempting, but I think that’d be a “no” from me, dog, because yikes. But right off the bat we meet several teens who download Countdown, an app that answers that very question, despite its clear satanic ties and ominous description. One discovers she only has a few hours to live. 

After opting out of a potentially life-threatening situation, the girl is haunted by a shadowy figure until she’s killed and dies right when the app said she would. 

Later our leading lady, a nurse named Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), finds out about the app from a patient and installs it on her phone. When it predicts that she’ll die in a few days, she goes on a panicked hunt for a way to prevent her impending death. 

Along the way she meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), a guy with even less time to live, and Father John (P.J. Byrne), an unconventional priest who tries to help Quinn cleanse the app, which he believes is related to an ancient demon mentioned throughout the Bible. She also finds Derek, a tech bro who tries to help her delete the app, as if you can just delete Satan, and when that doesn’t work, helps her hack it, as if you can just hack Satan. 

Apart from the distractingly bad acting throughout Countdown and a script so cliché and void of creativity that it almost felt purposefully satirical (maybe it was?), I actually kind of enjoyed watching. 

To be fair, I not so secretly love bad horror movies. It’s sort of like watching one of those Hallmark or Lifetime made-for-TV movies—they’re just so bad you have to watch. What can I say? Ridiculing someone else’s horrible art makes me feel alive. So do jump scares, and although there isn’t any real substance in Countdown, there sure are a lot of those. 

Still, a few cheap scares can’t make up for the fact that this movie was bad. So bad that when a sexual predator who works with Quinn gets what’s coming to him, she actually, and I’m not kidding, shouts, “Time’s up, you rapey f—,” which I’m assuming is a nod (or more like an enormous arrow pointing) to Hollywood’s Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment. And it’s also kind of a pun. Because the movie is about counting down the time until you die. Get it? 

There’s a lot wrong here—lacking cinematography, hastily laid-out rules, surface-level characters—but my biggest issue with Countdown is its insufficient sticking power. The killer app premise is interesting enough, kind of in the same vein as The Ring (2002) or Christine (1983), but those movies were at least a little scary because they stay with you afterward. The Ring forces you to watch the movie within the movie that leads to death in seven days, so for at least a day or two after watching, you’re paranoid that maybe you really will die. In Christine, it’s an evil car that comes to life and kills its drivers, which is pretty easy to think about every time you get behind the wheel of a car late at night. 

But Countdown doesn’t have that because if you just don’t download the app, you don’t have to worry about being killed. 

Still, it’s spooky season, so I think it’s worth a watch. Happy Halloween! (90 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash




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