The Bye Bye Man (2017)

2:05 PM

Don't Think it, Don't Say it.
 The Bye Bye Man is directed by Stacy Title (The Last Supper, Let the Devil Wear Back) and stars Douglas Smith (Vinyl, Big Love), Lucien Laviscount (Scream Queens, Waterloo Road) and Cressida Bonas (Doctor Thorne, Tulip Fever). "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". It's January, this is a horror film - this is the annual January horror film - does it live up to the awful reputation films like this have?


Unfortunately, The Bye Bye Man has been released in January for a reason - STX knew this couldn't compete with the fierce competition that will come later on in the year or the surprisingly strong horrors that were released in 2016 - STX moved The Bye Bye Man to the dead box office space that is January and I can see why - this film is not great at all. There is potential here and I think they were definitely going for a 'Sinister' vibe but they were unable to pull that off for a number of reasons - bad acting, a silly script and practically no fear. The Bye Bye Man is not a horror film - I think it fits more in the thriller genre but I didn't dislike this film because it was marketed in the wrong genre, I disliked it because it was simply poorly made and a waste of time. 

The acting in The Bye Bye Man was not great at all. The strongest performance from all the leads was probably Douglas Smith - luckily he is the lead so his sometimes passable performance steals screen time from the rest of the actors that are purely terrible. I hate to say this but looking at Cressida Bonas' previous films - she doesn't really have many notable titles and I do not think she will after this because her performance was not very good at all. She added little emotion to her character and I really didn't care about them. Lucien Laviscount has made an odd route to Hollywood - starting in UK dramas TVs then moving to smaller films then American TV and now this, his first mainstream Hollywood release - I honestly think this could be the end of his career as well as he was not great. I hate saying that but I can't help that these actors really didn't make the most of this opportunity - to be honest though, they weren't given much else to work with as the rest of the film is pretty poor too. There were some other notably bad performances including a return to form for child actors (that form being intolerable) - Erica Tremblay doesn't have a patch on her brother Jacob Tremblay - however, she still has time to follow her brothers footsteps. 

The script is another negative for The Bye Bye Man - not only is the script incredibly stereotypical with bad representations of jocks, goths and females, the story at hand really doesn't go anywhere interesting until the final act - and calling that interesting is a push. The characters are also written really poorly - there isn't much development but they are also very unlikeable - there was no special moment to establish the audience's care for these characters. I also thought it was strange how much sex came into the plot of this film - the character's were obsessed that Sasha (Bonas) was going to be unfaithful but there was also a really bizarre moment where a scream is heard and tension is built (well, is tried to be) and it turns out it is just a couple having sex - what a stupid moment! This really withdrew me from the film and made me realise how ridiculous and silly it was. The film is also very formulaic - it has the visit to the elderly woman for advice - unfortunately this time that woman is not played by Lin Shaye. Even the ending which would have usually been unconventional has become unoriginal these days - SPOILER - all the main characters die which I thought was a little anti-climatic because we are lead to believe the problem is about to be solved but then it isn't and the characters are easily tricked again. 

Stupid horror films with stupid stories usually have a few good jump scares that do make up somewhat for everything else. I didn't jump once at The Bye Bye Man and that's not because there are not any jump scares - there are a fair few but they just aren't effective. I won't be losing any sleep because of this film - despite it going for a 'The Ring' vibe with the once you've seen it, it will follow you. I have to say, the most scared I felt during this whole cinema experience was when a trailer for 'Split' came on - that film looks terrifying! The only shock factor The Bye Bye Man does have going for it is the gore which is a little excessive and over the top but this film certainly isn't afraid to go places - you literally see people get hit by moving vehicles. The actual appearance of The Bye Bye Man is also quite creepy - it's a shame this film couldn't have done more with this pretty scary looking character. What didn't look scary though was the weird hound that accompanied him - that looked plain stupid. 

The Bye Bye Man could have been so much more and I can see where the director was trying to make the film more than it was. They tried to bring in a detective element to the film similarly to 'Sinister' but they just didn't spend enough time on it for it to be effective - a teased sequel would probably explore that further due to the final scene but I do not want a sequel - I can watch 'Sinister' which would still probably be superior. I also think the film did have some intelligence within it - the whole messing with the mind thing was clever and I thought it was a surprising twist SPOILER for Sasha to be killed instead of John (Laviscount). I just wish more was on these character's minds than Sasha being unfaithful! 

I can't really say I'm disappointed because this film didn't look that great to begin with but from watching, I have discovered that this film is a missed opportunity as something a lot more interesting could have been done with the premises. The acting is pretty terrible and this is a horror film that just isn't scary but is graphic with its gore. The plot goes no where and this film is mostly uninteresting. I'm sorry but I say goodbye to The Bye Bye Man and hope to never see this film again! 

40
/100

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