Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Film Review: The Bye Bye Man (2017)

The Bye Bye Man (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...not the worst film I've ever seen, but it wasn't great, either."

A group of friends move into a new house where they discover the origins of an evil entity...

The Bye Bye Man is an interesting film. The film begins in 1969 as a man with a shotgun walks around his neighborhood and murders anyone who said 'the name' that shan't be said. Fast forward to the present, college students Elliot (Douglas Smith), Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and John (Lucien Laviscount) move into an off-campus house. After they discover the name The Bye Bye Man, things start to go bump in the night and they feel a presence around them. The more they think about the name, the stronger the presence grows. So, they start hallucinating. Those hallucinations lead to distrust, misunderstandings, and irrational fear. It leads to an underwhelming final act and a predictable ending.

The Bye Bye Man was critically panned upon release. It was also ridiculed for its title. I agree: The Bye Bye Man is a poor name for a horror antagonist. However, I don't think it's the worst film out there. FIrst and foremost, I really liked the concept. The hallcuinations aren't particularly frightening, but I thought they played out well. They help create a sense of doubt in every scene. The film was also paced well, never dragging its feet. There is some suspense here. It's not a nail-biter, but it shows some effort. I think this is best compared to those teenage horror film from the early 2000s, like They or Darkness Falls.

With that comparison, it also adopts a lot of the same problems. Although I feel like I liked The Bye Bye Man more than some other viewers/critics, I don't think it's perfect or even great. The Bye Bye Man fails to create any compelling characters, including its own antagonist. The main characters are also fairly annoying and downright stupid at times. The dialogue can also be horrible during some scenes. And, it's just not a scary film. It may have some suspense here and there, but it never truly frightens or even jolts.

The acting is also hit-or-miss. Douglas Smith is decent as the leading man. Lucien Laviscount also fills the shoes of his generic character well. Cressida Bonas, on the other hand, is painfully bad. There are some scenes where she passes as acceptable, but, during most of the film, she's bland and emotionless. The film was shot well. The music was forgettable. The computer special effects, which were mainly used for a hound, were bad. The film was written by Jonathan Penner and directed by Stacy Title. The concept was interesting, but the plot's characters were forgettable. It doesn't delve deep enough into The Bye Bye Man's origins to truly satisfy, either. Stacy Title can conjure some suspense, but she fails to pull strong performances from her cast and the horror is minimal.

Overall, The Bye Bye Man is a mediocre horror film. It's definitely not the worst film I've ever seen, but it wasn't great, either. If you like the PG-13 horror films from the 2000s, or if you liked this decade's Ouija, you might like this.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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