(Slight spoilers that if you chose to read, would not affect your enjoyment of the movie)
I’m usually a sucker for horror movies. The Babadook? Loved it. Gerald’s Game? Terrified for days. The Bye Bye Man? Occasional jumpscares that resulted in my friends and I watching The Conjuring to make up for two hours of wasted time.
Now, are there redemptive qualities that can make up the extremely mediocre plot and one-dimensional characters? Certainly. When I first started the movie, I was convinced that I had seen the actor for the protagonist – Eliot – somewhere before. And when my friends finally grew tired of me saying so, I looked him up and there’s Tyson from the PJO movies under Douglas Smith’s roles. So that was fun, and mainly the reason for the two out of five stars.
The Bye Bye Man is basically several (better) horror movies slammed into one. We have our three main characters: Eliot, his girlfriend Sasha, and his friend John. Eliot and Sasha decide to rent/buy a house for themselves because yes they’re meant for each other. That didn’t turn out to be such a good idea. One night, after a party, Eliot discovers a piece of paper in the upstairs desk with “Don’t think it, Don’t say it” scribbled all over. Then when he takes the piece of paper out, carved into the desk is The Bye Bye Man. Eliot then, of course, goes on to both think and say the name to his friends and even the librarian (who, in my opinion, was the best character in the entire movie). It is after this that Eliot finds out the reason why one must not say the Bye Bye Man: that saying the name conjures him forth with his supernaturally ugly hound. The dangers of this? The Bye-bye Man makes you see things, hear things that aren’t really there. For example, one of the friends who knows the name saw a family in need of help on the side of the road and didn’t see the train that was coming towards her. Basically, she died.
Now there are many things I want to say about this movie, from the poor cinematography in the beginning, to heavily cliched and unrelatable characters as the protagonists, but the main thing is that The Bye Bye Man is a movie without purpose. There is absolutely no reason for the Bye Bye Man to be doing anything, or, even if there was a reason, it was never explained (Even Saw 2 did a better job). There’s even no explanation to why the Bye Bye Man is called the Bye Bye Man, for despite it’s simplicity, one could only take a blind guess as to why the supernatural man is named such. As an avid horror movie fan, I always like complicated villains that make me question what I believe and make me feel uncomfortable in a way that does not just entail popping out whenever the background music rises to its crescendo.
There are just better horror movies to watch is what I’m trying to say. Try The Shining, always a classic. Or Get Out, for which there will be a review coming out soon.