Don’t think it, don’t say it and most importantly, don’t see it
Look, does anyone think that The Bye Bye Man was actually going to be good? We’re in January and this month has never been kind to horror movies in the past. Looking back at last year, we got The Forest, and in other years we got Texas Chainsaw 3D and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, in which each one was terrible. The Bye Bye Man is no different and fits right in with those January horror movies.
In the 1960s, there was a man that turned mad killing 6 people in which he blames the Bye Bye Man for his actions. Fast forward to the present day, and we got 3 college students that move into their new off-campus house.
Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend, Sasha (Cressida Bonas) and his buddy, John (Lucien Laviscount) get along great and seem like really good friends. That soon changes when Elliot finds an old night table and in the drawer is a carved name, “The Bye Bye Man.” By saying this name out loud, the college students start having visions, and the relationship between them starts bringing doubts.
From the start, The Bye Bye Man is in serious trouble. Trying to be a serious story, the poorly written dialogue doesn’t help overcome the movies’ many flaws. Unintentionally funny lines unexpectantly come out of each characters mouths making serious and supposedly frightening scenes, less impactful. Cressida Bonas delivers a wooden performance, while Douglas Smith delivers the total opposite. The actors can mask their mediocre dialogue and together it makes the perfect storm. No one in the movie is able to make the audience believe that they are indeed being terrorized by an entity.
One can still overlook mediocre performances and dialogue if the movie has something interesting to say. Except that, The Bye Bye Man has nothing important to say. Nothing that director Stacy Title (The Last Supper, Let The Devil Wear Black) brings to the table is new. Seances, urban legends, and distorted realities have been done better in similar movies such as Candyman.
The plot goes nowhere interesting, and when it is ultimately time to end the film, they take the predictable, easy way out. The movie does have an enormous amount of “cop-outs.” It kills characters for no other reason than having nothing more useful to say or do.
Even with all of that, The Bye Bye Man cannot answer simple questions. Why do they keep showing us a train? Where does this Bye Bye Man come from? Why does he have a terrible CGI dog? These questions are never answered but always keep coming up in the movie.
The only reason all of this could possibly be left unanswered is that the studios want to make a sequel. I shivered when the last scene of the movie left a possibility for a sequel to made. It was possibly the only moment in the whole movie that genuinely scared me.
Setting the bar extremely low for horror movies this year, The Bye Bye Man is a lazy, stupid and pointless movie that has nothing good to say. At the beginning of the film, one character asked his girlfriend if she wanted to watch a shitty movie. It’s kind of sad that I would later realize that that line was actually a warning for what’s to come. If you are looking for a good urban legend horror movie, maybe stay home and rent Candyman or The Babadook. You can thank me later.