From the producer of Oculus and The Strangers comes The Bye Bye Man. When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don't think it, don't say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control, making you see and do the most unspeakable acts committed by man. Is there a way to survive his possession?
In the film, THE BYE BYE MAN, three college students at Buchanan-Williams University - Elliott, his girlfriend, Sasha, and his best friend, John all chip in the rent out an old house to live in, instead of the traditional dorm. The house is aged, but seemingly harmless, that is until Elliot finds some mysterious writing etched into a drawer on a nightstand that was previously left behind. The words carved inside read "The Bye Bye Man". Elliot especially has concern for what it means, and fears that the old house may, not may not be haunted, and so after throwing a lively housewarming house party, John gets his friend, Kim, who is a psychic, to perform a sce, This would prove to be a grave mistake, because it is during, that Kim utters the words which Elliott found in the drawer. She speaks of the mysterious "Bye Bye Man". The act seems to awaken something unseen, because from that point forward, everyone involved with the stance is seemingly haunted by a mysterious hooded being, which is flanked by a vicious black hound Elliot, John and Sasha then also experience things such as illness, jealousy and are also witness to various violent acts and occurrences. However, they dare not say his name, as he is a curse that spreads to all who think or speak about him. With time running out, and the ominous "Bye Bye Man" inching closer to he and his pals, Elliot desperately hunts down the source of the words found on the nightstand, however, in the end unfortunately realizes that the only way to stop the "Bye Bye Man" may be his own death.
So, what is a "Bye Bye Man", you ask? I wouldn't know, and I've seen the film. The reason for this is that during the course of THE BYE BYE MAN, the film offers us no back story when it comes to the film's titular villain. All we are told is that it all started with a teenage boy who viciously murdered his family. When asked why he did what he did, the boy stated that ""The Bye Bye Man" made him do it." The story sometime later reached a reporter named Larry Redmon who chose to write a story about said case. However, Larry's involvement, and more in particular his use of the "Bye Bye Man", passed the dreaded curse on to him, and so it spread when he carved the name into the nightstand, thus, later passing the curse to Elliot, and the others. All we know about The Bye Bye Man" is that he wears a dark hood, and likes to ominously point at people. In the film, once Elliott and the others say his name, he is like a curse. He has control of them, as they begin to see things that aren't truly there, and do things that are increasingly violent. As predicted, when they try to get help, no one believes them, as no one else can see "The Bye Bye Man, for he is an evil which seems to only reside in the minds of those who are cursed.
Ok, I can think of no other way to say this. This movie is silly. Instead of being an original concept or story, THE BYE BYE MAN is a film that is essentially made from fragments of other well known genre films and phenomenons. Here we have part THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, mixed with the Slenderman myth, and that is fused with a little of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, with the way that THE BYE BYE man lives in the psyche of his helpless victims. Unfortunately though, unlike ELM STREET, the way which this is handled, is NOT at all clever. Instead we just have a group of uninteresting characters, who run around and act mental. As a result - lots of overacting by the cast. To make things worse, taking a cue from the old legend of "Bloody Mary". we have a bunch of young adults stressing over and over. "DON'T THINK IT! DON'T SAY IT!". Don't you dare! It's just silly.
The main reason that THE BYE BYE MAN fails as a horror film is not the fact that it isn't scary(believe me, it isn't). It is more due to the fact that our main group of characters just aren't interesting to the viewer enough for us to care. Out of all of them, the only one that is even remotely sympathetic is Elliott, played by Douglas Smith. This being because, for him, we do get a little bit of a back story. We learn early on that both of his parents died in a car crash. However, it's still not enough for us to want to connect with him. So when it comes down to these characters ultimately dying at the unseen hand of "The Bye Bye Man", or any other means, we don't care. Because, why should we? Of the characters, the only one that I found some what interesting is Elliott's older brother, "Virgil, and that is only because he is portrayed by Actor, Michael Trucco, who I have not seen in awhile(he used to co-star on a show that I liked called PENSACOLA: WINGS OF GOLD). Also surprisingly, they also somehow got both Carrie-Anne Moss and the legendary Faye Dunaway to appear in this film. While their appearances are a credit to the film, the characters which the play have very little impact on the story(with Dunaway's character being ever so slightly instrumental in the end).
Overall, THE BYE BYE MAN, is a film that in the beginning, had very little to work with. It's as if someone took a silly urban legend whose story could be better told in a 20 minute short, and decided to stretch it a 100 minute feature film. Instead of fleshing things out, and giving a meaning and cause behind who or what haunts them, we instead get various moments in which the characters recite the whole "don't think about him" and "don't say his name" routine. And if they did, then it's "who did you tell?!?". It's all been done before. Unfortunately this time, it just comes across as being as silly as its juvenile title.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Prior to seeing THE BYE BYE MAN, I had heard, and read all of the negative things that people were saying. But as I always do, even still, I went into the film with an open mind. But with that in mind, I must say that I agree with what has been said. A villain that comes about when you say his name - and additionally, one whom resides in the mind? That's great - but make it work. This film could have worked. However, the main problem here, is that it's not convincing. As far as the acting goes, we don't believe in the characters that are presented, nor are we frightened by "The Bye Bye Man", himself. Sure, Doug Jones is a brilliant, brilliant character actor, but here, he is only on-screen for about 10 seconds, and with the character itself, he has very little to embody. The character is just some thinly-fleshed guy in a hooded cloak - looking like some sort of version of "Kane" from the POLTERGEIST sequels. And here I thought that when it came to horror unseen that IT FOLLOWS was bad.
This film is available now on Digital HD, and will be released on Blu-Ray combo pack/DVD on April 11, 2017