“Don’t say it. Don’t think it.” But of course a group of college students do and then find themselves dealing with a foreboding curse. The problem is, The Bye Bye Man never quite develops itself nor does it explain a lot of avoidable mistakes. It’s one of those films that is so painful to watch that you wonder, did they make it this bad on purpose? The film with the unfortunate name, is just as unfortunate plot-wise.
After moving into an off-campus house with his best friend John (Lucien Laviscount) and girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), Elliot (Douglas Smith) finds bizarre writing on the inside of a drawer. Etched beneath the lining is “The Bye Bye Man”. When Sasha expresses her concern that a presence may be in the house, they perform a seance with the help of her psychic friend. It is during the seance that Elliot speaks the entities name out loud, thus unleashing the curse among those who hear it.
The supernatural creature quickly gets into their heads, making them see things that increase their paranoia, jealousy and fear. Possessing them in a way that encourages them to commit acts of murder. Which seems to be the only way of stopping others from saying “The Bye Bye Man” to anyone else.
One of the most prominent flaws with this film was apparent from the start. That is the very unassuming name for this supposedly terrifying monster, The Bye Bye Man. It’s not frightening at all and frankly is so ridiculous, it’s hard to take the characters seriously when they’re saying it with fear in their voice. The character is portrayed by the excellent Doug Jones (Hellboy, Crimson Peak), who is an amazing creature actor. So while his efforts could have potential to create a spooky demonic ghoul, the rest of the film completely ruins all hope.
The plot of the film moves fairly quickly. A little too quickly. The characters are so self-aware in an instant. It makes you wonder if they only moved into this creepy old house so one of them could claim it was haunted. Which in itself makes no sense because the house itself is not haunted. It’s only by saying “The Bye Bye Man” out loud that he gains any power, yet the characters experience a couple supernatural occurrences before anyone sees or mentions the name.
Another thing that was so painful with this film was its inability to be serious. One of those rare films you see where you’re confused if you’re not in on the joke or not. The script is disastrous for a studio film. The amount of cheesy lines, or just set-ups that have no effort was something the entire audience seemed to not be able to get over. It’s also very poorly acted by everyone involved. It seemed more like a C- student film, rather than a film with a $7.4 million budget.
It’s hard to be so harsh to a film that tried to be original, but its flaws were just so glaringly apparent that it’s difficult to understand how anyone would give this film the greenlight. The very few jump scares this film had, were instantly negated by something ridiculous and comedic. It never quite found it’s footing, which could entirely be blamed on a poor script and terribly set up scenes.
Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t see this movie.
The Bye Bye Man hits theaters this Friday, January 13.