Countdown and Jexi both come out in October, which, upon initial thought, is about all they have in common. Deep down, though, the technology involved in the two movies could be viewed the exact opposite way they are portrayed in each story. These two movies not only share similarities, but full-on swap genres when you think of them in a practical, real-life setting.
Countdown is a horror flick about an app that tells you your time of death (and then kills you, I guess). Jexi is a comedy about an app that becomes your jealous ex-partner. In theaters, they are polar opposites. In reality, they are the polar opposites of what they are being billed as.
Let’s go over the concept of both movies and discuss how they may play out in real life.Countdown
Everyone has a time of death. No one knows what it is. Countdown is a movie that is basically about that Death Clock website you and your friends went on in 2006, except it’s set in 2019. A death countdown app goes viral, but what users don’t know is that the time of death on the app is the actual time of death of the user. Great for those who get 60 years. Terrible for those who get 60 minutes. The movie looks to be more or less a modernization of The Ring (2002).
When The Ring came out, it was a genre-bending scary movie. The (very) basic plot was based around a cursed video. If you watched the cursed video, water spilled on your floor then your phone would ring. A call then came from some sort of demon-run automated service telling you that you had seven days to live. You had no control over this. Sorry, you shouldn’t have watched the video.
In the grand scheme of things, The Ring was a movie about a haunted VHS tape. Imagine a younger person watching that today. They would have absolutely no idea what was going on. Pitching that today probably wouldn’t go over well either, since everything is digital. Countdown, however, found a way to modernize The Ring. The problem is that kids today aren’t going to hold onto that same kind of fear as we did “back in the day.”
True story: I went to see The Ring at the theater with my cousin. After the movie, we went back to my place to grab some stuff because we were going to hang out with friends for the night. And by “hang out” I mean outside, in the circle (our town’s roundabout), talking and playing games. That’s what people used to do — play hide and seek and stuff like that.
We got to my house after the movie and no one was home. As we walked into the kitchen to grab some stuff, my cousin spilled a glass of water on the floor. Immediately after, my phone rang. We both stopped dead in our tracks, staring at the wall where the phone hung (kids be like, huh?) frozen in fear. We had technically just watched the haunted video tape from the movie, making this the most terrified I’ve ever been answering a phone call. (It was just my aunt.)
This is the reason I would have a hard time downloading the death countdown app, but I feel like kids today would joke about this sort of thing.
“An app with my death date on it? Whatever. Yolo.”
There will be millions of people downloading Countdown from the app store and all it would take is one fluke to make each and every one of them regret it (or at least, fuel some spooky Reddit threads).
Regardless of where you stand on this, it would be a little easier to plan out the rest of your life if you had the exact date of your death. Which brings us to the big moral dilemma:
Would you want to know your actual time of death?
What if the app from Countdown was actually legit? Would you download it? It would certainly make planning the remainder of your life easier. How many people are going to work if they find out they only have a week or two left to live? As much as you may say you love your job, you don’t love it that much.
If we took the scary demon from the movie out of the equation and simplified it to a regular death of natural causes, wouldn’t you want to know? Even if you had, say, three days left to live, there’s some value in knowing. It wouldn’t matter, because you would die either way, but knowing might give you a chance to have a little fun or say things you may have been holding in. Best case, you get a timeline in the 50-60 year range. Worst case, at least you get to say goodbye to your loved ones.
The countdown app would have massive implications on celebrities as well. Do the Lakers go back to a rebuild if LeBron James finds out he is going to die mid-season? If Meryl Streep has a week to live, how quickly can she hammer out another award-winning performance? As you can see, it’s easy to get into a bit of a wormhole of “what if’s” here.
For many people, knowing your time of death might be a calming experience. Having everything planned ahead of time, saying goodbyes and finding peace, or something like it, with yourself and your loved ones. It’s interesting to think about, at least. Now, on to the true horror film…Jexi
Is there a single person on Earth who knows you better than your smart phone? The answer, sadly, is probably a resounding no. Our phones are with us 24/7, listening to everything we say, taking our pictures, scanning our faces and fingerprints, presumably feeding all of this into some giant database where the world’s “bad guys” work. This is a horror in itself, but it’s something we’ve just kind of gotten used to.
There was a time when we were upset with new things like facial recognition or finger print unlocks (or just cell phones in general) but now, everyone seems fine with apps like Instagram and Facebook showing us ads for things we were talking about just hours beforehand. It’s a little disturbing how comfortable the world has become with this. Insert all of your George Orwell, 1984 references here. Big brother is no longer just watching us. Big brother has become a friend of ours and gets to hang out with us all day, every day.
Jexi is a movie about a rogue Siri-like app (voiced by Rose Byrne) that starts out by taunting its user (Adam Devine) and ends up being a jealous psychopath, flaunting her complete control over his life. The movie is billed as a comedy but it’s a little sad how accurate and scary some of it’s concepts are.
What if Siri suddenly decided she hated you and wanted to make your life hell? Imagine all the things she has seen and/or heard. Siri has your search history, your not-so-flattering (or maybe not-so-clothed) pictures, a record of all the crap you’ve talked about others, every text, DM and email you’ve ever sent and multiple ways to get in contact with all of your friends and family you deem important to you. Hell, she could probably even rank them based on how much you care for each.
Jexi (or rogue Siri) could destroy your entire life without even having to recruit autonomous cars to try to run you over like she did in the trailer. Unlike the death countdown, this is something we could actually see happen. At least, some form or variation of this, anyway. Before we get too tinfoil hat-y, let’s tie this all together.So, which is scarier: Countdown or Jexi?
The Countdown app can be a great way to physically and emotionally prepare yourself, your friends and your family for your untimely death or (hopefully) live out the rest of your life peacefully. Jexi is a life-ruining nightmarish concept that would burn you and everything you love to the ground. The anxiety and stress of having a cell phone blow up your social life alone is hard to even think about.
When you’re watching these two movies later this month, think about what would actually be the scariest: Finding out you’re going to die in 15 years, or your mom reading your sexts.
Jexi hits theaters on Oct. 11, with Countdown coming soon after, on Oct. 25