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The Bye Bye Man: Movie Review

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The tagline for The Bye Bye Man is the mind numbing and constantly repeated “Don’t think it.  Don’t say it”.  To be frank, they should add “Don’t see it.  Don’t watch it,” to the phrase.  Quoting Andy Bernard from The Office, “This movie is bad.”  I almost wish I could just leave it at that, so as not to have to relive the film through writing about it, but sometimes sacrifices must be made.

The plot (and I almost feel like referring to it as a plot is a disservice to the word itself) centers around three college students looking to test the waters of adulthood by moving off campus together in this, the latest horror film from the producer of Oculus and The Strangers.  It isn’t long before the trio find that they’ve become the targets of the Bye Bye Man’s wrath, after accidentally freeing him from his supernatural bindings.  Little by little they begin to piece together, kind of but not really, the origins of the creatures power and realize that in order to protect others they must keep them wholly ignorant of any knowledge of its existence, including not even knowing its name.  Unfortunately for Elliot, John, and Sasha that realization is too little too late for them.  In order to save themselves they must figure out a way to free each other from the deadly clutches of a figure that they come to realize is the driving force behind the evil of humanities most monstrous and violent deeds.

Now for the bad, or you know the review.  This film doesn’t seem to try at all.  To begin with, the plot is a poorly written, lazy and often a laughably insulting hodgepodge of poorly executed cliché and connections spread so thin that glancing at them for more than a few seconds would cause them to disintegrate.  Characters make associations and jump from one conclusion to another without reason or logic.  There is no real backstory that is ever laid as a foundation for the events that are happening onscreen.  Granted an elaborate backstory isn’t always necessary in film, especially as far as horror is concerned, and John Carpenter’s original Halloween is a good example of a horror film that is actually enhanced by a lack of explanation.  But the villain in this film is not interesting enough, scary enough, or honestly even encountered enough to build on that strategy.

Bye Bye Man is a silly film, but not even in a way that can be viewed as entertainingly campy.  The acting is bad.  It’s some of the worst acting I’ve seen on the big screen in a long time.  Cressida Bonas and Lucien Laviscount who play room mates Sasha and John are particularly bad, coming off as completely inauthentic and uninterested in their respective roles and honestly, I can’t even blame them.  In fact inauthenticity and eye rolling silliness seem to be the backbone of this movie.  The direction and set design combine to create an environment where for some reason early twenty something Elliot, the other roommate, just happens to have a floor length black hooded cloak hanging up on his bedroom wall.  As you can expect many a “is there or isn’t there a tall sullen figure wearing a cloak standing in my dark bedroom” moments are the result.  But I ask you, why the hell does he even own that?!   And why wouldn’t you throw that thing in a drawer after the first time?  Or, again, why does he own that!?  Is it because he wears a Joy Division shirt for a few scenes?  He’s a secret super-duper Goth clubber on Saturday night’s maybe?  Everything just gets sillier and sillier as the film progresses.

There’s a lot more that I could say about the failure of The Bye Bye Man, including and beginning with the title of the film.  Really?  The Bye Bye Man?  Suffice it to say that by the time it arrives at, what I would argue is the worst scene in the film, during which Elliot cry/screams/sings along to The Everly Brothers “Bye Bye Love”, while frantically speeding down a tree lined highway the movie has unwittingly become a satire of itself and I found myself openly laughing.  Oh and seriously if you’re going to spend 3$ on the CGI for a hell hound that has no real reason of existing at all, a word to the wise, just save the 3 bucks and leave it out.  The studio should have saved their time and money on this one and so should potential audiences.

The Bye Bye Man (2017)
Director:  Stacy Title
Studio:  STX Entertainment
Genre:  Horror
MPAA:  PG-13
Release Date:  January 13th, 2017
Author:  Angela Colgan
Angela Colgan Angela Colgan is a San Diego native who recently graduated from college with a double major in Visual Arts Media with a film emphasis and History with an emphasis in war, revolution, and social change. She is currently employed at a local start up video production company, working on a few short online comedy series’ that will eventually launch on their own internet television website. A fan of movies since a very early age, Angela has been appreciating, arguing about, and reviewing films amongst family and friends her entire life, often much to their annoyance. A fan of all genres of film, she is particularly a fan of old movie classics, horror films in all of their different manifestations, and one-liner filled action romps from the late 1980’s and early 90’s. She hopes to work in the commercial film industry in the near future in either post-production editing, or sound design.

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