(Release Info London schedule; October 25th, 2019, Cineworld West India Quay, 5 Hertsmere Rd, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL, UK, 15:30 pm)
If you could know the exact moment of your death, would you want to know? In "Countdown", an ambitious, young nurse Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail) is pressured to download an app that claims to predict exactly when a person will die. As her friends and colleagues reveal the many decades left on their lives, including Dr. Sullivan (Peter Facinelli), Quinn is shocked to see her clock will run out in only three days. Initially, she dismisses the app as a passing internet hoax, but when she discovers people are violently killed at the exact second their clocks run out, she starts to fear the hype. To change her fate, Quinn cancels plans on the day the app says she will die, breaking the user agreements and unleashing something truly evil. With her clock ticking away and fearing a sinister figure is following her, she meets Matt Monroe (Jordan Calloway) whose time is also running out. As the two make increasingly desperate attempts to delete or alter the app, Quinn realizes something worse than death is fast approaching. To save her own life, she must find a way to confront the demons haunting her before time runs out.
A pivotal part of the film is ensuring 'The Demon' summoned if we choose to cheat death is truly terrifying. You can learn your fate and you can die a natural death, but if you take that information and try to change your fate, you’ve broken the rules, and you’re his. He’s a hunter who enjoys the chase and wants every second until your last to be a nightmare. "Countdown" choses to slowly reveal 'The Demon' to create a sense of suspense, starting with a shadow until you see more features of an evil that feasts on souls. As part of the chase, the demon also feeds on the fears we never speak of the inner demons that eat away at us. While Quinn appears to have her life together, she has ghosts lurking under the surface. Quinn blames herself for the loss of her mother and the strain it has caused her family, especially with her younger sister Jordan (Talitha Bateman). Clearly, Quinn is expected to take on a motherly role within her family, but she’s focusing on creating a life for herself. We all have these demons inside that we bury, and for Quinn, this is inhibiting her from having a close relationship with her family. This is already haunting her by the time she downloads the app. Quinn takes her family for granted, rarely speaking with them. When she attempts to reconnect with those she loves after downloading the app, something worse than death is quickly coming for her and she realizes it might be too late. A central theme of the movie is you only have so much time with the ones you love. Cherish those moments because you never know when your time will run out; so put down the phone. The film also subverts certain horror tropes, for instance, when you're dealing with a demon you need a serious, stoic priest. Father John (P.J. Byrne) takes to the cloth as a fan of the Bible’s more morbid teachings. He has this enthusiasm for the Bible and it's demons.
The concept of "Countdown" is inspired by a simple moment; setting a timer on a smartphone. What if this timer is ticking down to when you die? It’s probably not a normal thought, but something just clicked. It's about a demonic app that tells you when you will die. 'The Final Destination' franchise meets 'The Ring', in app. With "Countdown", this timeless temptation of wanting to know when you will die is tied to a timely theme, the obsession with our phones, giving it the foundation for a high-concept horror film capable of pushing cultural buttons. We all have this relationship with our phones, so much so, that people are more connected to their phones than their families. The film strikes a nerve while also mixing fear with fun. This film is terrifying, and it needs to be, but there’s also an element of comedy. Moments of levity go hand and hand with great horror, and this film does that in an exceptional way. It's the premise for a fun horror movie rooted in a concept that sticks with audiences. It’s an exciting ride with great scares that poses a very primal question, which starts a lot of conversation. It also shines a light on how dependent we're on our devices in a highly original way by showing how they control our lives, and potentially our deaths. It’s a smart, scary movie that knows not to take itself too seriously, there will be nothing like it in theaters.
Comedy and horror shared key beats. While comedy sets an expectation and subverts it, horror establishes patterns, then surprises the audience. They've so much in common. The way you set up a horror set piece and the way you set up a physical comedy set piece. The premise of the film doesn’t lend itself to a relentless, gothic tale of horror. Moments of intensity are followed by levity so the audience can breathe again. You’ll be scared, but you’ll also laughm Those who find scary movies too unnerving will enjoy this film because there’s a good balance of frightening to fun. You’ll jump, you’ll laugh, you’ll be scared. It’s a fun, fast, entertaining ride that grabs you in the first frame and doesn’t let you go; that's the goal.