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Countdown

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Countdown Movie Poster Image
Evil-app movie is all jump scares and flat characters.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Backs up old adage "curiosity killed the cat." Your exact date of death might seem like something you'd want to know, but then it would also be something you'd definitely want to un-know. Best to think twice before nonchalantly asking for such power. (Also, read the terms and conditions.) Movie also talks quite a bit about dangers of drunk-driving and about inappropriate touching and sexual advances in the workplace.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No role models in this one. Quinn does perform a selfless act toward the end, but she also does some fairly poorly considered stuff throughout the rest of the story and even tries to commit a desperate violent act.

Violence

Many jump scares and/or sudden, loud noises. Characters die in startling ways. A man hits a woman in the face. Fighting/beating with blunt objects. Monsters. Bloody wounds. Dead bodies. Other scary stuff. A man is sexually aggressive toward a female co-worker; he touches her and tries to kiss her. Mention of rape.

Sex

Main couple kisses and sleeps in same bed together. Flirting. A woman lifts her sweater and shows her belly button, then starts undoing a man's pants. A teen girl is caught in the closet with her shirtless boyfriend. Minor sex-related suggestive talk.

Language

A single use of "f--k," plus several uses of "s--t" or "bulls--t." Also "biatch/bitch," "sons of bitches," "hell," "a--hole," "idiot," "damn," "goddamn," "crap," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

Mentions of Facebook, Grubhub, Costco, and Lexus.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen drives home drunk after a party and crashes his car into a tree. Stories about other drunk drivers killing people. A character in a hospital appears to have overdosed. Adults drink beers in a bar. Teens play a drinking game at a party; red plastic party cups are shown. Hypodermic needles shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Countdown is a horror movie about an app that predicts the exact moment of a user's death. Violence is the biggest issue. Characters die in startling ways, and there's blood, fighting, beating with blunt objects, a man punching a woman, and monsters. A man is sexually aggressive toward a woman, and rape is mentioned. Language is also strong and includes uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," "bitch," and a single use of "f--k." The main couple kisses and is shown sleeping in bed together. There's also some flirting and sexual suggestion. A teen drives drunk and crashes his car, and other drunk driving-related deaths are mentioned. Teens play a drinking game at a party, and social drinking is shown. The movie has some mildly funny moments -- as well as relevant themes around modern technology -- but it borrows heavily from much better films and ends up relying mostly on loud noises and jump scares.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMajaa06 October 29, 2019

Enjoyable Movie

It’s based on modern society and how easy it is to get pressured into doing something you don’t want do like downloading an app.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybookworm3284 November 12, 2019

A great time at the movies!! A little more scary than I thought.

CSM never ever lets movies pass for just trying to be a fun scary movie for a good time with your friends. But this is the perfect movie to watch with friends d... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 10, 2019

ENTERTAINING

*SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW*

Okay, it is true that this movie has flat characters. At some point, one of the main characters dies, which no one cared about, since... Continue reading

What's the story?

In COUNTDOWN, a group of teens at a party stumbles on an app called Countdown that predicts the exact moment of a user's death. One teen is warned that she'll die that night, and -- despite the fact that she avoids a ride with her drunk boyfriend -- she still meets her end. The boyfriend dies in the hospital a few days later but passes knowledge of the app on to the hospital staff, including Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail), who receives the disturbing news that she'll die in a couple of days. While trying to buy a new phone, Quinn meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), who likewise has a very short lifespan. Together, they enlist the help of an obnoxious tech nerd and an enthusiastic priest to try to beat the powerful curse behind the app.

Is it any good?

Despite a few mildly amusing scenes of comic relief, this horror movie offers little more than a set of ideas borrowed from other horror movies paired with flat, dull characters. To start, Countdown doesn't really even discuss the idea of whether we as humans would want to know the exact time of our own death; the characters simply download the app as if on a lark. Death doesn't mean much here, and the characters aren't very smart. The terror cooked up by writer-director Justin Dec consists mainly of jump scares or sudden, loud noises; it's more nerve-jangling than actually scary.

The techie (Tom Segura) and the priest (P.J. Byrne) offer a couple of laughs, but those end up feeling misplaced due to the seriousness and shallowness of the rest of the movie. The scariest moments -- usually involving mirrors or shadows -- are clearly copied from better movies. Even the main idea was better used in the Final Destination movies, which were almost existential in their simplicity, and the Ring series, which had a much clearer, more terrifying idea. Countdown actually comes closer to bad movies like Bedeviled (also about an evil app) and The Bye Bye Man, about curiosity leading to death. Like those, this movie will likely be forgotten, and that's something you can count on.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Countdown's violence. How strong is it? What's shown and not shown? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Would you want to know the exact time of your death? Why or why not? Do you think the movie is trying to make a particular statement about technology? If so, what is it?

  • How scary is the movie? What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do we like being scared?

  • What does the movie have to say about drinking and driving? Is it a clear message, with consequences?

  • How does the movie treat sexually aggressive behavior? How is the situation handled? What are the consequences?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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