Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man (2017)

An adaption of the short story The Bridge to Body Island, The Bye Bye Man is a 2017 horror movie directed by Stacy Title (her first feature film in a decade). The title refers to the Bye Bye Man, an insidious entity who will come for you if you say his name, or even just think it. Elliot (Douglas Smith) and his girlfriend Sasha (Cressedia Bonas), along with their friend John (Lucien Laviscount) move into a house near their college, but Elliot soon finds references to a sinister “Bye Bye Man”, and he must deal with the menacing consequences of even just knowing about it.

+ the opening of the film is a fantastic, confronting single-shot scene which sets up the tone of the film perfectly; that is, violent with something sinister going on in the background
+ there are a few nicely subverted scares; you think something will happen and it doesn’t, or you are sure it won’t, until it does. Granted, a few of them were simple jump scares

thebyebyeman_2.png
If I saw this scratched into a bedside table, I’d assume I had moved into a very young child’s old room.

– gosh darn, I couldn’t stand any of the main trio. All of Smith, Laviscount and Bonas were incredibly unlikable, with Bonas in particular irritating me to the point I was begging for the Bye Bye Man to get them
– in many ways, this felt mostly like a mash-up of various other horror movies, specifically sitting somewhere between the Candyman/Bloody Mary mythos and It Follows, with all the modern Sinister/Conjuring/Insidious tropes to show for it. But it never did anything for itself
– I cannot fathom how this name got through the early script writing process. I know it’s based off a pre-existing story, but surely someone could have suggested nearly anything else, or simply left “it” unnamed

Should you see this film: No. An interesting take on an old premise soon gives way to a mess of a movie with unlikable characters and frustrating story progression. And dammit, I just cannot get over the stupid name.

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