‘Countdown’ Could be the Scariest Movie You See this Year

Movie Review


Boies / Schiller Film Group

The demons in "Countdown" really bring the jump scares.

Zion Hendley, Staff Reporter

“Countdown” was by far the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life.  Many horror films, as we know, are rarely scary to most people, but this one definitely was not one of those movies.

Walking into the theater last Tuesday morning, I knew I was going to see a horror movie, but I honestly thought that it was going to be just like every other.  I wasn’t nervous about seeing it, and I certainly didn’t think it would frighten me. In fact, I thought very little of the movie because I usually laugh at horror films.

The movie begins in a nice, bright hospital scene with everyone smiling and happy.  The nursing crew is celebrating and welcoming their new member, Quinn Haris (Elizabeth Lail), to their crew.  Moments later a patient introduces her to something called the Countdown app, which she then downloads out of curiosity.  At this point, I knew that things were about to get weird since the patient had apparently gotten hurt because his friend’s countdown clock ran out while he was with her.

According to the movie, the app “counts down” your time to live and predicts when you die.  After filling out the information needed, you have to agree to a set of terms that basically states that you could not do anything to affect your time. In other words, you cannot live any differently than you would if you didn’t “know” your time was up.  When you didn’t follow the terms, a demon or spirit comes to haunt you. The problem gets murky when any changes to your life to alter your time would cause a break in the Countdown user agreement. Something as minor as canceling or upholding usual plans would count as attempting to change your fate.

Throughout the movie, many people download the app and later see dark figures that come to kill them once the countdown expires.  The demons and spirits themselves make the movie scary. They make themselves visible only to the victim in short spurts, and bystanders only see the way the victim reacts, not the demon itself.  This meant the spirits were only a figment of the victim’s mind and would only appear in order to complete the task of taking his or her life. This frightened me the most, and each sudden attack would literally have me jumping out of my seat.

Right before someone would die the demon would haunt them to make sure they died on time.  The demon could literally come in any form and make you hallucinate in order to do its job.  No matter what your location was, when the clock hit zero, you were going to die.  

For instance, Matt Monroe (Jordan Calloway) cancels his train ride because he knows that his time was coming soon.  This results in a break in the agreement, so he receives a notification on his phone saying he did so. Matt takes a bathroom trip at the hospital and finishes up then proceeds to wash his hands. As he turns the water, the lights diminish and he sees a figure behind him in the mirror. He then turns his cell phone light on, turns around and there is nothing there.  After doing this a few times, the last time he does it, a demon begins to attack him.

This specific scene got under my skin psychologically.  I could not enter a bathroom without thinking that the lights could potentially turn off on me.  I could not get the thought out of my head that maybe a demon or spirit was plotting on me or was coming to haunt me.  When I did go to the bathroom after the movie was over, I would rush out in fear.

Many different forms of demons are shown to make viewers never know what was coming next.  It was something that definitely left me on the edge of my seat while also wanting to sit back and protect myself from the intimidating spirits.  The theater was full of shrieks and flinching viewers. The urge to cover your eyes in fear couldn’t compel you to stop watching. 

Every time a spirit is about to appear, it doesn’t come straight forward.  Maybe a couple glances at the demon or a flashback that would lure you in but never just straight out.  The jump scare effect was used at its finest to bring out the most terror in the viewer. Dark settings ae the demon’s preferred location, and the inability to see until a sudden light coming on really plays up the horror. 

“Countdown” is, by far, the most fascinating horror film I have ever watched.