January 21, 2017

Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man

You know, there are movies every year that I know I should not see. Movies that look terrible and do not deserve to be seen. Sometimes I am successful at avoiding the temptation, but other times I am not so good at staying away. In the case of The Bye Bye Man, I saw the trailer and immediately put it on the avoid list. I have to be honest, it looked horrible, suffers from a terrible title, and what looked to be a ridiculous premise. Somehow, I found myself with some time to kill and that movie fitting right into the time available. Can you guess what I did? Of course you can. I sat by myself in a theater being bored for 90-minutes.

I knew it was a mistake, but I did it anyway. This film was directed by Stacy Title, her first film since 2006’s Hood of Horror. Screenplay duties were handled by her husband, Jonathan Penner, who has spent much of his career as an actor, appearing in such films as Hood of Horror, Down Periscope, Coneheads, and a number of television series. The movie is an adaptation of a book called The Bridge to Body Island by Robert Damon Schneck. The resulting film plays like it was made by people who have seen horror films but do not understand how they work, much less able to make one.

The movie opens in 1969. We follow a man (Leigh Whannell from Saw and Insidious) take a shotgun and proceed to shoot some folks while asking who they told the name too. It is a scene that looks like it was copied out of It Follows. It should be noted that this movie was originally rated R, but was resubmitted to garner a PG-13 label, you can guess what that means for these early shotgun kills. That’s right, they are the cleanest looking shotgun murders ever. It takes the scene out of horror and makes a bit more comically surreal.

We jump ahead to the present day and we catch up with three college students moving into an off campus house. We watch them explore the creepy expanse, look for the supposed furniture, and get ready to throw their first party. It is during this party that Elliot (Douglas Smith) discovers a night stand with the words Don’t Think It, Don’t Say it scrawled over and over inside it, along with the words Bye Bye Man. This is when stuff starts to get weird for our trio, seeing things that aren’t there, being enticed to do things or react to things that are out of character.

You know, the more I think about the movie, the worse it seems. The cast has no chemistry, the villain has no purpose or origin, there are no real scares, the entire thing is an exercise in tedium and nonsense. Nothing is explained, nothing connects, and I feel a lot like Carrie Anne Moss’s character, begging for something, anything that would help shed a light on what is going on.

The Bye Bye Man attempts to offer up something fresh, but seems more likely built on the watered down of ideas of other films. Nothing connects, nothing matters, and in the end I just did not care. The entire thing felt silly and poorly thought out. Next time I should look for another way to kill some time.

Not Recommended.

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