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Movie Review

What if there was an app that could tell you the exact moment you were going to die? And all you have to do is download it, accept the terms and conditions, and wait for your impending doom.

Well, that’s exactly what Quinn Harris does. After learning from a young patient that his girlfriend died at the exact moment the app said she would, Quinn and her coworkers download the app out of morbid curiosity. Most of them have fun with it. They’ve got years to live. But not Quinn. She has days.

After Quinn inadvertently breaks the terms and conditions of the app, she starts seeing some weird things: mysterious shadows, flickering lights and even her dead mother.

And she’s not the only one.

Quinn soon meets Matt, a guy who, like her, downloaded the app out of curiosity and somehow broke the terms and conditions as well. To make matters worse, Quinn’s own little sister, Jordan, decided to check it out after seeing big sis’s frantic reaction to the countdown.

Now, in a race against time, Quinn will do anything to beat the clock and save their lives.

Positive Elements

Quinn and Jordan have had a rocky relationship ever since their mom died, with both sisters blaming themselves for her death. However, their relationship is redeemed while trying to stop the Countdown app. They reassure each other that neither one of them could have stopped the drunk driver that took their mother’s life. As the film unfolds, we witness Quinn’s deep devotion to her little sister’s wellbeing.

Spiritual Content

Quinn and Matt discover that the Countdown app is powered by a demon’s curse. This demon haunts them and appears as a cloaked and veiled figure with yellow eyes and rotting skin, sharp teeth and nails. The entity also manifests itself through the personas of dead people and uses telekinetic abilities to attack the living and move objects.

Characters are spooked throughout the film by disembodied voices, strange shadows, objects that seemingly move of their own accord, flickering lights, visions of their dead loved ones and demonic hallucinations (all courtesy of the demon torturing them).

Whenever characters get a notification from the app, it screams, often making them (and the audience) jump. A woman sneaks into the morgue of the hospital to unlock a dead boy’s phone. When his fingerprint doesn’t work, she realizes that he must have used a retinal scan and pries open his eyes (which are extremely bloodshot). She is frightened when his arm and head seem to move but chalks it up to paranoia and leaves.

Father John, an expert in demons, tells Quinn and Matt that Satan is the “father of lies,” and that they can break the curse by proving that Satan is a liar. To accomplish that, someone must die either before or after the clock says they will perish. Together, they make a pentagram using salt and glue to ward off the demon while Father John holds up a crucifix and chants in Latin.

After someone at the hospital comments that they don’t think God wants them to download the app, the preacher who runs the hospital’s chapel says that God has a plan for everyone. Later, Quinn and Matt visit the man in the hospital chapel (which has a large crucifix in the background) to ask about demons, and he refers them to Father John after saying that he believes demons are more metaphorical.

Father John is found smoking, blaring his music, and eating sacramental wafers in the library of a church. He tells Quinn and Matt that the origin story of the Countdown app involved a gypsy witch. In a later scene, he is shirtless, and we see he has several cross tattoos on his body. He admits that he “got into the cloth” because of his interest in demons.

A man recognizes Latin because he went to a Catholic high school. A tombstone has a cross engraved on it.

Sexual Content

One of Quinn’s male supervisors attempts to take advantage of her, but she shoves him away. He calls her a “tease” and tells HR that she came onto him, not the other way around. He is eventually arrested after several other women come forward with rape allegations to back Quinn up.

A man and woman kiss. In an attempt to trick a man, a woman reaches to undo his pants and lifts her own shirt to reveal her stomach. A teenage girl is caught with her shirtless boyfriend, who then leaves. She says they’ll eventually have sex. A woman is seen in a sports bra.

A man makes a woman uncomfortable by flirting with her and touching her neck and shoulders. A man prepares to sleep on the floor of a woman’s bedroom, but she invites him to share the bed. While they sleep, his arm is wrapped around her waist.

In an end credits scene, a man comments on a woman’s breasts to her face, and she excuses herself from the conversation.

Violent Content

One character gets telekinetically dragged up a flight of stairs and into a street. He is then hit by a car and crushed between the car and a tree, with his blood dripping onto his phone. Two people (at different times) are suddenly pulled up into the air and offscreen. Moments later, they are thrown back down and smash their heads, dying instantly.

A woman hits a man with a crowbar and attempts to inject him with morphine. In the scuffle, he wrests the crowbar from her, so she kicks him in the groin.

Several people are telekinetically pulled and thrown by the demon. One girl is thrown through a glass window and suffers several deep cuts from the shards and another sprains her ankle after being thrown several yards. Shelves crash down on two women, and one of them is stabbed in her abdomen by a falling object. A woman wrecks her car after demonic hands grab her from behind. Later, she briefly wrestles with the demon when it attacks her as she sleeps. A man watches a pair of feet bend over and crack backwards before he is tackled to the ground by a demon.

Quinn watches a video of a girl who downloaded the Countdown app and recorded her own death. (We don’t actually witness the death, since the girl drops her phone.) A teenage boy breaks his leg and suffers head trauma after a car wreck. Suicide is mentioned. A woman smashes her phone with her foot and later slices her thumb on the broken screen. A train wreck killing several people is mentioned on the news. When a man screams at Quinn, Matt defends her. A woman almost hits a guy while backing out of a parking lot.

Crude or Profane Language

The term “rapey f---” is used once to describe a man guilty of sexual harassment. The s-word is used at least 16 times. “H---” is heard about 10 times, with “a--,” “a--hole,” “b--ch” and “d--n” also making frequent appearances.

A preacher exclaims “g--d--mit,” then immediately looks up and apologizes to God. Another man similarly exclaims “Jesus” inside a church, catches himself and covers his mouth in shame. God’s name is misused another nine times and Jesus’ name is misused four more.

We hear “beyotch,” “heck” and “gosh” once each.

Drug and Alcohol Content

At a house party, teenagers drink alcoholic beverages from red plastic cups. A small group plays a game where the loser has to finish all of their drinks. When the loser is unable to do so, her boyfriend drinks on her behalf. Later, she refuses to drive home with him since he is clearly inebriated. He drives off in anger and winds up wrecking his car.

A woman is brought into the hospital after overdosing. Doctors give her a shot of medicine that revives her. People drink in a bar. One particularly drunk man spouts out his controversial opinions—such as that the Holocaust was fake. A woman is killed by a drunk driver.

The drug morphine plays an important role in the plot as well.

Other Negative Elements

A phone technician is snarky and rude to his customers. He offers to jailbreak Quinn’s new phone, which she declines. But later, Quinn and Matt give him their credit cards to hack into the Countdown app and change the time left on their clocks.

A man admits that as a child, he stole a toy he wanted from his sick and dying brother. A teenager is scolded for sneaking into the construction zone of the hospital. A man uses the bathroom (we see him from the shoulders up). A man tries to save his job by making a coworker seem unstable.

Conclusion

The whole premise of Countdown revolves around the concept of fate. At a certain, predetermined moment, you are going to die, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. If you download the Countdown app, you can know when that moment will be, but there’s still no way to change it. When it’s your time, it’s your time.

Because the characters here aren’t willing to accept their fates, they invoke the wrath of a demon and are tortured by the thing up until the moments of their inevitable deaths. Sure, they seek the help of a priest in the hopes of breaking the curse, but the guy is portrayed more as a demon-exorcising enthusiast than an actual man of God.

Like other characters, he certainly isn’t too worried about swearing, and nobody seems concerned about crossing moral boundaries. At one point, Quinn justifies murdering a guy before his time because he sexually harassed her and another woman, though the film asks us to excuse those actions because of other redemptive choices she makes.

All in all, Countdown is a mess. Much like Quinn and other characters should have done, viewers should consider the terms and conditions of Countdown before going to see it.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Horror

Author

Cast

Elizabeth Lail as Quinn Harris; Jordan Calloway as Matt Monroe; Talitha Eliana Bateman as Jordan Harris; Peter Facinelli as Dr. Sullivan; Dillon Lane as Evan; Tichina Arnold as Nurse Amy; Tom Segura as Derek; Lana McKissack as Rachel; Anne Winters as Courtney; Matt Letscher as Charlie; P.J. Byrne as Father John; Valente Rodriguez as Father David; Louisa Abernathy as Mrs. Talbot; Charlie McDermott as Scott; Jonny Berryman as Jeff; Andrea Anders as Jamie Harris

Director

Justin Dec ( )

Distributor

STX Entertainment

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

October 25, 2019

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Emily Baker

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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