Countdown Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

An app that shows you how much time you have left to live – that’s the premise of COUNTDOWN, a teen horror film that finally does justice to this term. We’ll reveal whether that’s good or not in our review of the film.

Talitha Eliana Bateman as Quinn’s sister Jordan, who also downloaded the app.

The plot summary

An app that predicts your time of death? It can only be a fake! At least that’s what the young nurse Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) initially thinks when she downloads it and accepts the terms of use without reading it. You can try it out. While her friends still have decades to live, Quinn’s display shows something else: only three days left to live and the countdown is on! Events soon take over: Quinn learns of the first deaths among the users and a sinister figure seems to follow her every step. She tries more and more desperately to find out the secret of the mysterious app. When she meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), whose time is also running out, they both want to stop her death countdown together – two days, one day, one hour…


In 1996, the late horror filmmaker Wes Craven breathed new life into the then dead horror cinema. With “Scream” he not only created the horror film of the decade and created the first horror icon since Jason Vorhees, Michael Meyers, Freddy Krüger and Co. with Ghostface, but also directly opened up a whole new target group. Although young adults were always the target of the above-mentioned and various other killers in all sorts of slasher films in the 1980s, the young people who primarily consumed such mass productions at the time are becoming big. And since every generation grows up with its own horror films, after “Scream” – in addition to a total of three sequels – many more upstarts of this new teen horror trend sprouted up; the “I Know What You Did Last Summer”s, the “Dark Legends” and the glossy remakes of Japanese horror films in which predominantly young, pretty women were chosen as the targets of terror. This trend lasted well into the noughties, before it was replaced by torture porn, until sophisticated psychological horror finally dominated horror cinema in the 2010s. With his cinema debut “Countdown”, Justin Dec is now trying to fill the gap between works like “Midsommar” on the one hand and films like “Conjuring” on the other; the gap in which one desperately seeks films about teenagers on the verge of insanity. And what could be better than immediately tackling the technology with which today’s youth seems to have magically merged? In “Countdown” an app consequently becomes the bringer of death. Kind of nice, kind of familiar, kind of okay.

Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) and Matt (Jordan Calloway) try to get to the bottom of the app’s origins.

There’s no need to beat around the bush for long: Of course, the premise of “Countdown” seems like it was stolen from two existing horror films or franchises in particular: The idea of ​​the ominous medium – which back then came from a VHS cassette that now seems antiquated – is strongly reminiscent of “Ring”, which in turn was referenced more badly than well in films like “Slender Man” . And the further plot, which is about how the main character Quinn, together with her friend Matt, tries to get to the bottom of the origins of the app and thus mess up the further course of events, has strong “Final Destination” vibes – and lots of “ring” flair again. As expected, “Countdown” doesn’t even come close to these two great classics of genre cinema. At the same time, newcomer director Justin Dec doesn’t try too hard to live up to this comparison by hook or by crook. The fact that he is inevitably hired simply because there have already been films with similar stories is ultimately only partly his fault. Because if his film is intended to be aimed at a group of viewers in terms of staging and narrative, then these are probably primarily the parts of the audience who have had little or no contact with horror cinema so far. In this respect, this criticism can be continued in two different ways, so that two completely different résumés can be drawn when evaluating it.

As a connoisseur of the genre, “Countdown” offers absolutely nothing that you haven’t seen countless times (and also umpteen times better). After a somewhat atmospheric prologue in which we watch a party community download the app together and then experience how one of the couples meets their admittedly deserved death in a rather violent manner, the premise is established: This app kills. And if you try to outsmart death, it becomes even more brutal (we’ve already made the comparison to “Final Destination”). The further the clock runs out, the more frightening the associated visions of potential victims become, which the horror-experienced cameraman Maxime Alexandre (“Crawl”) routinely captures. His camera panning follows the basic principles of horror cinema. Experienced viewers will always know exactly when the next scary face or whatever else is supposed to scare the audience will appear. It goes without saying that “Countdown” takes place primarily in the dark and that composers Danny Bensi (“The Prodigal Son”) and Saunder Jurriaans (“Enemy”) have created a menacing score that is turned up particularly loud during the shocks. So it’s kind of business as usual; Only the fact that Dec also tries to make a half-baked #MeToo comment in a subplot seems very strange and discouraged given the indecisive ending. At least Peter Facinelli (“Breaking Dawn – Until the End of the Night”) plays the sleazy asshole convincingly enough that you at least believe the underlying threat he poses at all times.

But what actually happens when you put yourself in the shoes of that part of the audience that doesn’t yet know horror cinema inside out? With “Countdown” you are ultimately presented with a solidly produced horror film, which is particularly carried by the leading actress Elizabeth Lail, who is also well known to the target group and also acts solidly here. From her first scene, Mimin, known from the successful Netflix series “You”, acts as a likeable identification figure who passionately pursues her work as a nurse and with the same passion tries to get to the bottom of the origin of the app. If later also the no less enthusiastic Jordan Calloway (“Black Lightening”) comes along, there is a harmonious chemistry between the two. As “Countdown” progresses, Justin Dec also ventures into further subgenres; Although the bizarrely modified exorcism part in particular seems almost unintentionally funny (the aim here is not to exorcise a demon from a person, but rather from a smartphone), Dec, who is also responsible for the script, will certainly strain the patience of one or two horror lovers Newcomers can also get to grips with the excesses of genre films without pushing them straight into it with all their might. And to compensate for the tension in the final third, Dec also has a comic relief in the form of a demon-fanatic priest, PJ Byrne (“Bombshell”) plays with such fervor that he will probably make even those who have yawned more often than frightened smile for a moment.

Conclusion: Have you already seen more than five horror films in your life, know how the genre works narratively and stage-wise and do you prefer the psychologically provoking horror of the “Hereditary” brand anyway? Then just stay away from “Countdown”, you’ll be bored for an hour and a half. Have you, on the other hand, been afraid of horror films so far and now (still) want to slowly get closer to the horror on the screen? Maybe you enjoy series like “Supernatural”, you like to be frightened and films like “Ring” or “Conjuring” are just a bit too violent for you? Then take a look at “Countdown”, you might like it.

“Countdown” can be seen in USA cinemas from January 30th.

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