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Review: The Bye Bye Man

The Bye Bye Man
01.12.2017
2 10

The Bye Bye Man review Douglas Smith Cressida Bonas Doug Jones

PLOT: Three students move into a house and accidentally unleash The Bye Bye Man, a supernatural being who feeds on your fear and causes you to see and do terrible things.

REVIEW: Hoping to cast a creepy spell along the same lines as CANDYMAN or SINISTER, Stacy Title's THE BYE BYE MAN instead stumbles immediately out of the gate and exposes us to a hopelessly silly series of events only a 10-year-old could find scary. When it's not provoking laughs, it's eliciting yawns, and you can't say "buh bye" to this immensely foolhardy enterprise soon enough.

Who is the Bye Bye Man, you ask? The funny thing is, the movie doesn't really know. Spoiler: Ol Bye Bye has been given no backstory or even reason for being. Like everything else in the movie, he's arbitrary and poorly thought out, meant to jostle teens out of $14 and never be heard from again. I don't have a problem with disposable Friday night horror fare, but at least put some effort into the thing, try to make a lick of sense, to give your villain a shred of intrigue. In terms of being fleshed out, Bye Bye Man makes Mr. Boogie from SINISTER look like Daniel Plainview. He's a hooded albino with a scarred face who appears once in a while with a hilariously unrealistic CG demon dog by his side (seriously). He'll point at you and make you see things that aren't there, turn you against your friends and ultimately force you to kill them and yourself. Basically he's a supernatural jerk with a lot of time on his hands. The talented Doug Jones plays BBM but doesn't get a single thing to do other than stand there and leer.

The Bye Bye Man review Douglas Smith Cressida Bonas Doug Jones

Packing rules so illogical they don't make sense even by campfire story standards, the plot involves this mysterious, ghostly figure who brutally, and rudely, interferes with the lives of three college friends. Just saying his name puts you on his shit list, but that doesn't make much sense since saying his name also (supposedly) keeps him alive. Like Candyman before him, Bye Bye Man thrives on his name being passed around in whisper by frightened innocents. So, why then, is he so eager to kill the very people who help keep his legend going? If that's a useless question for a horror movie, it's also one of many this confounding thing will have you pondering. (You won't be scared, that's for sure, so what else can you do other than pick apart the movie's ample amount of problems?) Why does Bye Bye have a dog companion? Why does he wear a stylish hoodie/trench coat ensemble? Why do coins plop on the floor every time he's near? I assume a sequel, or prequel, is planned, one that will build upon Bye Bye's flimsy mythology, but who's going to be asking for that after seeing this mess?

The story, or what passes for one, sees dorky Elliot (Douglas Smith) move into a spooky old house off campus with his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas) and childhood friend John (Lucien Laviscount). I won't bore you with the details, but a seance (points for originality!) conjures The Bye Bye Man, and from there he slinks around the house, being seen only in spurts when the audience needs a jump out of their slumber. As mentioned, his big thing is inserting paranoid visions into your brain, so Elliot eventually becomes paranoid about John and Sasha having an affair. Really, that's about it. There is the standard investigation into the history of this being, which ultimately leads us to a sad cameo from Faye Dunaway as the widow of a man who went mad thanks to Bye Bye's annoying meddling, and all the while you're thinking, "This can't be all there is to the narrative, right?" It is. Even the awful CG dog can't liven things up at the end.

The Bye Bye Man review Douglas Smith Cressida Bonas Doug Jones

I hate to be mean to young actors, but two of our three protagonists give rather poor showings, which doesn't help a movie that is already circling the drain. Smith, who squared off against similarly lame apparitions in OUIJA, wears hysterical looks of bewilderment throughout, his performance so goofy that you sympathize with the actor way more than you do the (quite moronic) character. Bonas doesn't fare any better; more than half the time she appears drugged and depressed. Actually, who could blame her? Laviscount is a little better early on, but the character falls off the deep end fairly quickly, hence he's also made to stagger around with an expression of confusion on his face for most of the running time. I swear, I don't know if there's ever been a movie with lead characters who looked more out of it than this one.

The movie's tagline, and mantra, is an easy one to make fun of: once Bye Bye is in your head, you're supposed to say/write "Don't think it, don't say it" over and over to fend him off. (Nevermind the fact that furiously writing that nonstop makes it seem an awful lot like you can't stop thinking about him.) I hereby declare that when it comes to THE BYE BYE MAN, I won't be thinking or talking about it ever again.

Source: JoBlo.com

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