reflection

'The Bye Bye Man' had very few glimmers of a good film but there was something there. If there is a sequel, I hope to see a massive improvement on the mythos as well as a far better ending. This would make for a fun Netflix viewing or in a theatre with people who frighten easy.
The Bye Bye Man

‘The Bye Bye Man’ Review: 2017 Horror Is Off To A Rocky Start

‘The Bye Bye Man’ Is Shameless Fun But Offers Little Substance

You know exactly what’re getting when you watch ‘The Bye Bye Man‘. 2017’s first major horror release is the typical supernatural movie in vain of ‘Insidious‘ or ‘Conjuring‘ but doesn’t have the potential those films showed. In place of any serious attempts at horror were shockingly silly moments and some spotty CGI. The film is effective in delivering some scares but those moments are far and few between.

The story of the film goes as follows: Elliot, his girlfriend Sasha, and best friend John all move into a house off-campus. Almost instantly after renting the house, the paranormal events begin to happen. It isn’t until Elliot stumbles across a drawer with the name “The Bye Bye Man” written on it that things kick into overdrive. Once you see or hear the name of the “Bye Bye Man”, it begins to drive you crazy. The craziness doesn’t end until everyone is dead and taken over by the Grim Reaper creature.

Honestly, the story was simple enough and fairly harmless. It’s heavily borrowed from urban legends like Candyman or more recently The Slender Man but with no clear motive. On top of some lackluster acting, the whole mythos behind this title character goes unexplained and gives you no reason to care. At least films like ‘Insidious‘ gives you some backstory. All this does is attempt to explain how ‘The Bye Bye Man’ works but fails at that.

“Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It. Don’t Say It, Don’t Think It.”

What saves ‘The Bye Bye Man’ from complete failure are the scenes set in 1969. During an intense introduction with brutal (but bloodless) shotgun killings, the real paranoia of the ‘Bye Bye Man’ myth is felt. This intro is handled so effectively and easily became the only memorable thing about this movie. There was a few more flashbacks to the events in 1969 and they continued my good feelings towards it. I hope if this gets a sequel that it goes the ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ route and goes into the past. Last year’s sequel was a vast improvement on the first ‘Ouija‘ film and this could have the same chance.

That’s basically how I felt in general about ‘The Bye Bye Man‘. I saw there was a few inklings of a good film but it never got close to its full potential. This began to lose me once director Stacy Title deciding to show the titular monster very early in the film and then quite often after. While actor Doug Jones is usually amazing with these creatures, it was a bit too much. Especially when his horrible CGI hell hound was added to the mix. Scaling things back and upping the atmosphere could have helped this film immensely.

[SPOILERS BELOW:]

All of this could have been ignored if it wasn’t for the horribly inept ending. Like last year’s ‘Light’s Out’, ‘The Bye Bye Man‘ decides to go the “suicide is the only way out” route. I’m personally all for brutality and nihilism but endings like this just come off lazy.

There’s been far darker films that haven’t used this as a way to simply wrap things up. Or there is a film like ‘Martyrs‘ that uses suicide to deliver the final punch in the face. But here…it’s the only way to beat the villain it seems. So do we get a franchise now where our lead is just going to end up dying each time because that’s how we’ve set this mythos up? That’s the moment I knew this was unredeemable even in a “so bad, it’s good” way.

Final Thoughts:

Finding a better tone for this would have helped. It reached some insanely campy moments like having iconic actress Faye Dunaway be lit on fire or some funny moments during their hysteria but it doesn’t go fully through. Then suddenly, the film tries to be genuinely creepy but stops when tension is really starting to rise. It was just messy. I’ve seen far worse in this genre but this isn’t how we need to be starting horror in 2017.


Synopsis: Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind man’s most unspeakable acts.

Genre: Horror
Country: USA
Directed By: Stacy Title
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas

EJ Moreno
EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno

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'The Bye Bye Man' Review: 2017 Horror Is Off To A Rocky Start'The Bye Bye Man' had very few glimmers of a good film but there was something there. If there is a sequel, I hope to see a massive improvement on the mythos as well as a far better ending. This would make for a fun Netflix viewing or in a theatre with people who frighten easy.