Countdown (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Justin Dec|
|Written by||Justin Dec|
|Distributed by||STX Entertainment|
|Box office||$48 million|
Countdown is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed and written by Justin Dec, and starring Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Bateman, Tichina Arnold, P.J. Byrne, Peter Facinelli, Anne Winters, and Tom Segura. The plot follows a group of people who discover a mobile app that correctly tells its users when they are going to die. It was released in the United States on October 25, 2019 by STX Entertainment, receiving negative reviews from critics and grossing $48 million worldwide.
At a party, teenager Courtney is convinced by her friends to download Countdown, an app that seemingly predicts how long a user has left to live. Courtney is startled that it says she only has 3 hours left to live. After avoiding getting into a car with her drunk boyfriend Evan, Courtney receives a notification stating she has broken the "user agreement". Returning home, she is attacked by an unseen entity and killed as her timer reaches zero. At the same time, Evan crashes and a tree branch goes right through where Courtney would have sat.
Quinn Harris, a nurse who works at the hospital where an injured Evan is admitted, suffers frequent sexual harassment by her boss, Dr. Sullivan, but fears speaking out as she is new. Evan tells her about Courtney and his suspicions about the app. He also reveals it states that he will die at the time he is due to go into surgery. Quinn is dismissive of his claims but eventually downloads it. She is horrified to learn it says she has only three days left. Evan skips his surgery and is informed he has violated the user agreement. He is killed by a demonic version of Courtney.
Quinn cancels a plan to go out with her younger sister Jordan and their father before being informed she has broken the user agreement. She researches the app, learning about Courtney and that similar things have happened to other app users, but they are regarded as fake. Panicked, she buys a new phone but discovers the Countdown app has installed itself on it. After being attacked by a demonic figure, she encounters Matt, whose Countdown states he will die a few hours before Quinn.
Quinn learns Sullivan has tricked the staff into thinking she sexually harassed him: as a result, she is suspended. Matt is attacked by the entity taking the form of his deceased brother. They look at the user agreement, which states the agreement is broken if the user tries to change their fate: Quinn's trip with her family and Matt taking a train ride, which they both canceled, would've resulted in their original deaths. They hack into the app and learn Jordan is due to die right before Quinn. Derek, the phone salesman who helped them hack into the app, adds more years to all three of their life spans. However, Quinn is attacked by the demon and the countdowns revert to their original times.
A priest they consulted, Father John, identifies the demon as Ozhin. He theorizes the curse can be broken if someone dies before their countdown ends or lives after. They prepare a warding circle to protect them from the Ozhin's attacks, but Matt is lured out by the Ozhin, who took the form of his younger brother, and killed.
Quinn takes injured Jordan to the hospital, where she learns Sullivan also harasses other staff members. Realizing she could kill him before his time to end the curse, she attacks him, but he is saved by Ozhin, who realizes what she is doing. The Ozhin prepares to kill Jordan but Quinn overdoses on drugs, sacrificing herself. Jordan notices Quinn has written something on her arm: "Narcan". She revives her with Naloxone ("Narcan") and the duo succeed as the countdown timers stop.
Later, Quinn hears news about Sullivan's arrest after more nurses came forward. She discovers an update of the app, Countdown 2.0, has downloaded itself onto her phone.
In a mid-credit scene, Derek is on a Tinder date. His Countdown app says he has broken the user agreement. The lights in the restaurant go out before he is attacked by the demon.
- Elizabeth Lail as Quinn Harris
- Jordan Calloway as Matt Monroe
- Talitha Bateman as Jordan Harris
- Tichina Arnold as Nurse Amy
- P. J. Byrne as Father John
- Peter Facinelli as Dr. Sullivan
- Anne Winters as Courtney
- Matt Letscher as Charlie Harris
- Dillon Lane as Evan
- Tom Segura as Derek King
- Charlie McDermott as Scott
- Christina Pazsitzky as Krissy
- Jeannie Elise Mai as Allie
- Marisela Zumbado as Kate
Elizabeth Lail was cast in the film's leading role in March 2019. In April 2019, it was announced that Talitha Bateman, Peter Facinelli, Jordan Calloway, Tom Segura, P. J. Byrne, Anne Winters and Tichina Arnold had also joined the cast.
Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans composed the film's score. The soundtrack was released by Sony Classical Records.
Countdown was theatrically released in the United States on October 25, 2019. The film's trailer premiered on September 13, 2019. STX Entertainment reportedly spent under $15 million promoting the film. The studio partnered with Amp Studios, run by YouTuber Brent Rivera, to promote the film on social media apps such as TikTok.
After watching the trailer, developer Ryan Boyling built and uploaded a random generator death app that looks exactly like the one in the film. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms and climbed to the number one spot in the App Store charts in October 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Countdown was released alongside Black and Blue and The Current War, and was projected to gross around $5 million from 2,675 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3.1 million on its first day, including $515,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to over-perform and debut to $9 million, finishing fifth. In its second weekend the film fell 35% to $5.8 million, finishing seventh.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 26%, for an average grade of 4.09/10, based on 69 reviews. The site's critics consensus reads, "Countdown may offer a few fleeting jolts for horror fans with barren queues, but it lacks enough wit or creativity to leave a lasting impression." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 31 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale, while those surveyed at PostTrak gave it 3 out of 5 stars.
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