Quick Reviews: 'Countdown', 'Jexi' | Phones & Apps Want To Destroy You, Maybe Even Kill You
You don’t have to feel bad if you find yourself counting down the minutes that are left when you’re watching Countdown, director and writer Justin Dec's latest horror flick. With a somewhat entertaining base idea of a killer app telling the user’s time of death, the film is constantly restarting itself and giving you hope that there will be some kind of payoff. This isn’t the case though as it keeps bringing in a bunch of half-baked secondary storylines throughout it, almost completely ignoring anything mildly interesting about the story.
Now, however, Countdown isn’t a complete disaster. It is decently done from a technical standpoint. There are no real qualms about the horror essentials: set designs, sound, cinematography or score. Unfortunately none of the technical things really stand out here, making the whole viewing experience pretty forgettable. Comedian Tom Segura is a positive note when it comes to the acting performances, providing some much needed jokes in the middle of the dullness while also his character is used to strengthen the plot.
All rise for possibly the worst horror creature of the year, a forgettable blob and definitely-not-scary looking mess whose name (Ozhin) you struggle to remember afterwards. There is zero creativity in the horror moments involving Ozhin, being a step-by-step copy of the most generally used jump scares. The dialogue is laughably underestimating the audience, best seen by creating family tension without ever making us feel like we know the main character Quinn (Elizabeth Lail). Most confusing part of the movie is a particular, poorly constructed subplot, which makes no sense considering it is only done to make the viewer feel the tiniest bit something towards the character of Dr. Sullivan, played in underwhelming fashion by Peter Facinelli. A real shame that the writers undermined and underdeveloped the whole thing just to pat themselves on the back.
Smileys: Tom Segura
Frowneys: Character design, dialogue, Peter Facinelli, originality
Too bad there is probably a countdown timer for the sequel already.
Sometimes a movie just baffles you just by existing in our world. This is the case with filmmaker duo Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's Jexi, which is best described as an 8-minute Youtube sketch stretched out to be an 85 minutes long feature film. An unbelievable catastrophe of its own kind, it also already seems incredibly dated with the way it incorporates technology.
Bless Alexandra Shipp’s (as Cate) heart and professionalism as she really gives this one everything she has to offer, all while portraying a poorly constructed character. Cate is really only an excuse for us to look past the main character Phil’s (played by Adam DeVine) development which can barely be described as that as the plot never gives him a chance to do that. Somewhere there is a sketch version of the basic idea of Jexi which is probably funny and entertaining.
The movie is shot and edited together awkwardly, in a way that wouldn’t work even in digital space. There are these weird zooms that usually can be found in shows like 'The Office', however here they are not done during jokes but instead they seem to happen just to make this look like a comedy without it ever being one. Jokes are rarely landing here as even Jexi’s clapbacks get tiresome fast as the whole movie depends on it to provide the laughs. None of the side characters have any real business to exist as they are there just to be typical stereotypes and a really out-of-place cameo by Kid Cudi is used only as a plot device. The script is messy as it is trying to make fun of Gen Z from the perspective of Gen X by using the language of millennials.
Smileys: Alexandra Shipp tried her best
Frowneys: Directing, screenplay, acting, editing, humour
It’s hard to understand how this was greenlit in the first place.