“The Bye Bye Man” is directed by Stacy Title and stars Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, and Cressida Bonas. The movie is about a mysterious being that appears only to those who call his name, and three friends end up being cursed by this supposed “Bye Bye Man” as they are pushed to the brink of sanity.
This is January, and this is a horror movie, so nearly all hope is lost from those two facts. Add one of the worst movie titles in the history of cinema, and it was safe to say my expectations were at rock bottom coming in.
There are a couple sequences here and there that held some tension in them, specifically involving a scene towards the end that has multiple changes in perspective. These moments where the film actually feels like its somewhat original are certainly the highlights, but there are very few scenes that didn’t feel borrowed.
“The Bye Bye Man” is a stupidly named rip-off of two of the best horror films in the past couple of years. This abomination to the horror genre takes the premises from “It Follows” and “The Babadook” and mashes them together to make a movie that doesn’t come close to either of those masterly crafted films. This movie so shamelessly takes ideas that have been done before and makes them disgraceful here, and it was simply insulting to watch.
I can’t tell if the acting or the script is at fault here, so let’s just assume that both are equally terrible. The three leads are all atrocious in almost every scene, as virtually nothing they say is convincing, and most of the time it’s unintentionally laughable. Somehow, some way Carrie-Anne Moss and Oscar winner Faye Dunaway are dragged into this pile of crap, and while they are certainly the best performances in the film, but even they can’t overcome the awful dialogue they are forced to read. The script was written by someone who has clearly never been between the ages of 18-21, as a college student would never ever say the idiotic spew that this script forces them to. The dialogue between characters feels wooden and is often comical without ever telling an actual joke simply by how bad it is.
As a horror movie, there are almost no scares from start to finish, with most attempts at horror being stupid, weak jump scares or attempts at creating tension that fail. This may be because the Bye Bye Man himself is just not intimidating, nor is his brutally animated dog. This hound looks like CGI pulled right from the Pre-“Jurassic Park” era, and it truly hurts to watch the actors try to make the dog seem scary. There are just so many times where the film tries to take itself seriously when it is just so awful that it ended up just feeling incredibly campy, but not on purpose.
If all of that wasn’t bad enough, the end leaves the film on a cliffhanger, and since this turd was made for about $5 and a Big Mac coupon, there’s probably a strong chance for an even worse sequel, but here’s crossing my fingers that audiences are smart enough to realize this dribble doesn’t deserve their money.
“The Bye Bye Man” is a poorly made, horrifically acted, terribly written, completely not scary horror film that has maybe two or three good scenes throughout its nearly 100-minute runtime. This film straddles the line between being serious and being a joke, but I can’t reward a movie for being so bad that it’s good, even if there is some true gut-wrenching comedy to be had here. 2017, please only go up from here, as “The Bye Bye Man” is not the start I wanted to this year.
If you want to look at something positive, check out our Best of 2016 lists here