Directed by: Stacy Title
Starring: Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, Lucien Laviscount, Jenna Kanell, Doug Jones, Cleo King, Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway
Run Time 1h 36mins
1 1/2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
“The Bye Bye Man” may as well be called The Night Night Man because watching it is probably going to put you to sleep. There’s not much substance here and as original of an idea I had thought it was, it was a huge let down.
In the opening scene, we go back to 1969 in Madison, Wisconsin. We see a terrified man killing family and friends, asking them if they had told anyone his name. Having watched the trailer, you can deduce who he’s referring to; “The Bye Bye Man.” This sets us up for some real terror. That was a good intro and you’re certain this will only get better.
Cut to outside of Madison. We’re in Sun Prairie, WI (a place I once lived as a matter of fact) where some young students, Elliot (Smith), Sasha (Bonas) and John (Laviscount) are renting a big creepy house. Who couldn’t see that coming? Well, that’s predictable but that’s okay. Creepy houses are the center pieces of many a fine horror flick. Elliot and Sahsa are lovers and John is a childhood friend so they’re doing this together to better afford it.
Right away something sets off Sahsa’s distress meter but this, of course, doesn’t hit her until after the ink is dry on the lease so she enlists her friend Kim (Kanell) to perform a spiritual cleansing and also a séance to be certain the house is evil spirit free.
As can be forecast by you at this point, let’s be honest, you could write the rest of the script, Kim feels a wicked soul and no one obeys the warning signs. There are a few good shots here like when his name is first said at the séance but for the most part, you’re never frightened in this horror film. The Bye Bye Man himself has gone bye bye. I think he forgot he was part of the film, actually, showing up every now and again, doing just enough to keep the director happy and to collect his check. You want him to appear more because what you see of him early is creepy but it stops rather abruptly.
We discover, with Elliot, that you aren’t supposed to think of him or say his name. The more you do, the closer he gets. Elliot becomes the sleuth for the group and tracks down who the Bye Bye Man is but is often fooled by tricks, as are the others, into thinking what’s not real, is. There are a few scenes of the dangers they fall into by believing the visions are real but beyond that, we’re left hanging. I’ve come to see a horror flick, not a guy running around trying to solve a case! Regardless, he’s being driven mad by a cloaked figure with long boney fingers and scars all over his face that you barely get to see. He’d most likely chill you to your boney fingers if they’d have concentrated more time on him and if the effects were better than those of any fan of the genre who engages in recreating a scene from their favorite horror film on their cell phones for their Twitter followers.
The Bye Bye Man is hardly the focus and this will disappoint you highly. Faye Dunaway was phenomenal as the widow of the man from the beginning of the film so if you’re a fan of hers maybe watch when VOD becomes available. Please tell me she did this as a favor to someone! Anyway, this movie is just filled with too much ridiculous to recommend you watch it. Dunaway, Smith and Cleo King are convincing with the material they’re working with but the rest of the cast, overall, are rather weak. My final thoughts on this film are simple. There are no scares. There is no horror. There’s no originality. There’s no real reason to invest your time.