Do you dread not knowing when you're going to die? Do you wish you could die in a very specific way pertaining to your odd and silly fears? Well, there's an app for that! The Ghouls discuss real apps that helpfully remind you of your coming demise (for a boost in morale of course) and discuss films Countdown and Bedeviled. What does it mean to know when your death is coming and that it's your own fault?
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RED: Quotes, someone else's words.
Kat's Facts - Apps that remind you that you will die
Okay, this was like...really dark humor funny to me, and I was CONVINCED for the entire time that I was reading it that it was clickhole or some other satire website, and It wasn’t. I was reading the atlantic and this was a 100% real thing. The article I got this from is called The App That Reminds You You’re Going to Die: It helped me find inner peace. Written be BIANCA BOSKERJ and the app is called WeCroak. Now this app doesn’t kill you or anything spooky, cause to my knowledge there is not an app that physically comes to kill you, but it does tell you 5 times daily that you are in fact going to die. I went to the website for WeCroak and they say they “The WeCroak app is inspired by a Bhutanese folk saying: to be a happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily. Each day, we’ll send you five invitations to stop and think about death. Our invitations come at random times and at any moment, just like death. When they come, you can open the app to reveal a quote about death from a poet, philosopher, or notable thinker. We encourage you to take one moment for contemplation, conscious breathing or meditation. We believe that a regular practice of contemplating mortality helps us accept what we must, let go of things that don’t matter and honor the things that do. If you want to go deeper into action, consider joining Leap for challenges to help you face impermanence in all its aspects and live better lives today..”
Gabe's Film Analysis - Themes and Our Obsession with Death
Bedeviled OK, I’m going to talk about the attempted themes in this film. This is by no means a good film. Not even a fun horror film. Countdown has some good jumpscares and a few decent actors. This has none of that. But there are some things that make it apparent the creators tried.
Obsessions with phone - oh these darn kids. So obsessed and reliant on their phones. Back in my day, kids sat and stared at walls and that was good enough for em! Yeah, that's a theme here. Bc this app, Bedeviled is a personal assistant AI. With the creepiest voice ever. Not at all welcoming. I wonder why Bedeviled didn’t get a job as Siri?? Anyway, there's a sub-theme here about our reliance on technology but its really only barely there. One of the characters even says, "So maybe — maybe our obsession with technology is causing us to project our own subconscious fears!" There’s a scene where a cop who is possessed by the demon Bedeviled, and he goes on a rant about kids these days on their phones and molly and whatnot. Which, I get it, ok boomer. But, technology, drugs and crime are all really serious issues… and this guy is not taking it seriously at all. They say an app killed their friend and yeah when we get into details its farfetched but my immediate response to “An app killed my friend” would be to think of all the viral trends that cause teen suicide. Which could have been a good theme to go with considering we start with a young girl who has been distancing herself and ultimately ends up dead, possibly by her own hand. And yet, no one talks about that. Which brings me to another theme
Suicide and Death in teens - we have a few hints of this like with the actual death of the character in the beginning. We have an opportunity to make some commentary about suicide when the friends discuss how they never saw this coming. But it quickly becomes a very dull conversation of “she would never!” but then there is no explanation as to why they think that or that suicide can happen even with people you think are doing “ok”. The boyfriend here has a chance to talk about it but he’s quickly shoved to the side until he’s needed for the next theme!
Racism, right? - Our characters are all experiencing their fears made into real terrors before them. We have a sequence of scenes where each character talks about what has always scared them and instead of in-depth terrorizing fears like “dying alone” or “losing a loved one” we get something like, “My dad gave me a really gross and creepy teddy bear for some reason and that terrifies me.” and it should, because it was a messed up gift for a child and her home life could’ve been a horror movie all on its own. But we have all these silly and superficial fears and then we have, Cody. Our black character who hasn’t quite honed his code-switching skills so he wavers between nerdy boy to the “black character”. His fear is well, white people and the police. He has this charming scene where he hums a classic tune so that this white woman will be put at ease by his presence. He then calls her out on being racist and explains matter-of-factly that he's actually afraid of her. Which is very valid but in a film full of superficial white-people fears and silly apps, it kinda falls flat. When we could’ve used each character to highlight social issues, we cop out with just one. Which does say a lot, I know. In that these kids are incredibly priviledged and so they have stupid fears and his is so real. So for that, I get it. But I really feel like Cody was thrown in there for “Ooo wow, racism is scary huh folx!” and that isn’t really fair or nice. You can’t use people’s experiences for cannon fodder like that. Sorry dudes.
Teen sex - ok, this isn’t a theme but BIG ISSUE I have here is that two kids have sex and the dude videotapes them, without his gf’s permission and of course, Bedeviled posts it - not because it was anyone’s fear, mind you (WHICH IS A REASONABLE REAL FEAR BTW). But bc Bedeviled is a jerk and likes messing with them. But my problem here is that this is legitimately child porn on Instagram and he should be way more afraid of the fact that he will be going to prison. And possibly be labeled a sexual predator for the rest of his life. Again, real fears. I know that’s not as fun as him being killed by a picture of a lady that looks like a Yurei. Which is them trying to tie in J-horror. Which again I get. And also, kudos for making the Asian boy someone seen as sexual which is very rare. We talked about it before.
There’s an app that tells you when you’ll die. Roger Ebert said this about this film, He then encouraged audience members to download it for themselves just before the movie started. Needless to say, I did not bother. But if anyone in the crowd did and found themselves with less than 90 minutes to live, it might have been the one time when they might have been considered to be among the lucky ones. After all, it would have meant that they would not have had to actually sit through this idiocy in full. Which summarizes it quite nicely. I downloaded the app and it gave me like 12 years. BUT it then gave me the option to watch a video to change my fate so I watched a 30 second ad for a phone game and I got it up to like 40 years! That was the realest thing ever, second only to the fact that the app resulted in many pop-ups and was terrifying in that it was a virus on my phone. -shivers-
The film discusses an obsession with death, which people have when they’ve lost someone. The film revolves around people who have lost others and the residue from such a loss. The app seems to target those who download the app not for fun and games, but because of a dark desire to know. Because death to those of us who’ve lost, is so much more real - always around the corner, then it is to people who haven’t lost anyone before. And so, for that, I give the film a thumbs up because that's a full theme and they executed it.
Another situation in the film, is workplace sexual harassment which is on the backburner and later used pretty half-butted by way of plot device. So thumbs down, countdown. It definitely isn’t drawn out properly and it spirals out pretty wildly. I would’ve enjoyed an ending in which the characters had formed a solid plan off-screen and then what we see on-screen appears to be them losing only to win in the end because it was their plan all along! Which is kinda what happens but not to the extent that I wanted. Interesting use of lifesaving Narcan. So that’s cool.
Also, why always blondes? What is this?
Media from this week's episode:
Bedeviled (2016) Creator: Abel Vang, Burlee Vang Terror strikes when five teens download a malevolent app that uses their deepest, darkest fears to torment them.
Wow a terrible film lol
Southeast asian brothers directed and wrote this film and feature an asian male who is seen as a love-interest and even has sex!
Countdown (2019) Creator: Justin Dec When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict exactly when a person is going to die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With time ticking away and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.