If you’re watching the Black Mirror Season 4 episode called Hang the DJ and something feels familiar, there’s a reason for that. No, Black Mirror didn’t do an episode before about people using a dating app that counts down. I thought that too, until I realized that I was remembering a movie that felt so much like Black Mirror, I mistakenly remembered it as being a Black Mirror episode. You see, the premise to Hang the DJ, in some ways, is similar to a movie called Timer. This movie had a plot that could have easily been an episode in Black Mirror. Read on for more details. This post has major spoilers for Hang the DJ and Timer. You’ve been warned.
Timer is a 2009 sci-fi film about people using a device that counts down to finding their soulmate. It features Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori, Desmond Harrington, JoBeth Williams, and Kali Rocha. Much like Black Mirror, the film is a cautionary warning about relying too much on technology and how that can go really badly in the end. The premise of the film is the idea that you can get a device implanted on your wrist that counts down to the moment you’ll meet your soulmate. Who knows how the device knows you’ll meet your soulmate, but it does. The only problem is that the device will remain blank if your soulmate doesn’t get one implanted too.
Oona, an orthodontist, has a blank timer for this very reason. Meanwhile, her stepsister and close friend Steph has a timer that says it’s going to be 15 years until she meets her soulmate. So Steph has a lot of one-night stands with men who’s timers are about to expire. These men want one last “hurrah” before they meet their soulmates and Steph’s OK with that. She encourages Oona to do the same, and Oona chooses a younger guy named Mikey.
The rest of this post will have major spoilers for the twists in Timer and how it ends, so don’t read on unless you’ve seen the movie or you’re OK with being spoiled.
Mikey eventually reveals that his timer is just a sticker — it’s fake. Steph, meanwhile, is falling for a widower who doesn’t have a timer because he believes his wife was his soulmate. Steph and Oona decide to remove their timers, but Oona backs out when hers starts counting down just before her procedure, showing she only has one day left.
Later at Steph’s birthday party, Oona sees Dan and her timer goes off. He had just had one installed. Oona offers Mikey that she’ll have her timer removed and stay with him, but Mikey turns her offer down. Oona and Dan later decide to give it a chance, and Steph is still waiting for her match (but she no longer has a timer, so she may not recognize him when they meet.)
As you can see, Timer had a lot of elements that made it feeling like a Black Mirror episode. And like Hang the DJ, it used the concept of an app and a countdown to help people meet their soulmates. Although the end results were different, there were a lot of similarities along the way between the episode and the movie.
Some fans, upon seeing the trailer for Hang the DJ, have already been talking about the similarities between the episode and the movie. A year ago, one Reddit user even suggested the premise as an idea for a Black Mirror episode.
Which did you like better, Hang the DJ or Timer? Do you think they were similar? Let us know in the comments below.