Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, suicide & content that may disturb.
Douglas Smith as Elliot
Lucien Laviscount as John
Cressida Bonas as Sasha
Doug Jones as The Bye Bye Man
Carrie-Anne Moss as Detective Shaw
Faye Dunaway as Widow Redmon
Director: Stacy Title
People commit unthinkable acts every day. Time and again, we grapple to understand what drives a person to do such terrible things. But what if all of the questions we’re asking are wrong? What if the cause of all evil is not a matter of what, but who? When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don’t think it, don’t say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control.
The Bye Bye Man is not only one of the most laughable attempts at a title for a horror movie, it is also just might be one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen. Despite its unique concept, this movie really doesn’t have anything else to offer with the messy and terrible script, bad acting and poor attempts at being scary.
First thing you should know is that The Bye Bye Man is based on an urban legend, it wasn’t created for this movie. The problem is this movie doesn’t set up or explain what this entity even is, in this movie he’s pretty much just a mysterious demonic being that kills people who know his name. I know that a lot of times its better not to show too much about the horror antagonist’s origin but it is a good idea to give some explanation, and they don’t give anything about him here. So there’s a lot of things that happen but we are never given explanation for why they happen. This movie was originally filmed to be R but was edited down to a PG-13 (probably in an attempt to get more people in seats). The editing really is apparent, as there are some scenes that happen that should be a lot more bloodier than they end up being. The writing is terrible, it’s not particularly interesting, the dialogue is awful and there are some moments of unintentional hilarity. I’ll just make it simple, anything bad that can be in a bad horror movie nowadays is here: stupid protagonists, bad decisions, obnoxious bad jump scares, countless horror clichés, it really doesn’t work on any level.
The acting was awful, especially from the lead actors (Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas). I don’t know if it was the direction or writing that let them down but either way, their performances here were really bad. It was either bland and lifeless or over the top hilarity. Also for some bizarre reason, Carrie Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway show up and aside from an easy paycheck, I don’t know why they are here. Carrie Anne Moss is there to be the obligatory and unnecessary cop character in a horror movie, while Faye Dunaway is there to deliver important exposition in one scene but really she could’ve been played by anyone.
The direction wasn’t very good, from the opening shot, you can tell that something is wrong. None of the scares work, it’s filled with typical obnoxious jump scares accompanied with loud noises. When the CGI is there its horrible, especially with The Bye Bye Man’s dog. Also The Bye Bye Man himself could’ve looked better, they have Doug Jones playing the role (who is so good at playing heavily costumed/make up heavy characters) there but he doesn’t really get anything to do. He looked so basic and unintimidating in many of his scenes.
In short, The Bye Bye Man is horrendous. Poorly acted, written, directed and edited, it is astounding how much it gets wrong with such a unique concept. It wasn’t painful to sit through like Hot Pursuit or Norm of the North but it was astounding in how poorly made it was. Literally the only good thing about The Bye Bye Man is its concept (but even then they simplify him so much that we don’t get that clear of an idea of what it is), everything else about it was awful. Aside from some unintentionally hilarious moments, there’s not much reason to watch it.