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Review: Death app horror film 'Countdown' should be deleted

Don't expect tricks or treats from this lame horror exercise released just in time to be forgotten by Halloween

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

In "Countdown," an app tells users exactly when they're going to die. 

And you thought Facebook had its drawbacks. 

It's a cheapo horror movie premise so obvious it's a wonder it wasn't exploited sooner. And "Countdown" feels every bit like a rush job, thrown together before some else got to it first, from its wonky tone to its thorny sexual politics to its physical manifestation of the Grim Reaper, whose wardrobe looks like it was pieced together from various discount bins at Halloween USA. 

Elizabeth Lail in "Countdown."

Sooner than you can say "allow notifications," a group of teens download the death app, breezing right past those annoying user agreement terms and restrictions. "It's just an app!" one of them reasons, already having moved on to some other form of recklessness. But when one's countdown turns out to be real, the software manufacturer is held accountable and an investigation is launched. 

Just kidding, that might make sense. Instead, more people download the app, including nursing intern Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), whose readout says she only has a few days to live. She spends what little time she has left being sexually harassed by her boss, Dr. Sullivan (Peter Facinelli), in a #MeToo/ Time's Up subplot that feels poorly handled at best, exploitative at worst. 

P.J. Byrne shows up as a Grubhub-obsessed stoner priest who tries to break the app's curse, in a role that at least shows the film doesn't take itself too seriously. But it also doesn't seem to care about its characters, its premise or any sense of coherence, so there's no reason viewers should, either. 



Rated PG-13: for terror, violence, bloody images, suggestive material, language and thematic elements

Running time: 90 minutes