Bye Bye Man
Director: Stacy Title
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Michael Trucco, Jenna Kanell, Cleo King, Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, and Doug Jones
“Don’t think it. Don’t say it”. The creation of a monster for a horror film is difficult work these days, especially when you have classic villains like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers still standing tall in the horror hall of fame. Still, the genre needs these new scary creations. “Bye Bye Man”, directed by Stacy Title, tries very hard to make the next great movie monster but unfortunately never gets all the pieces put in the right place.
Elliot (Douglas Smith), Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and John (Lucien Laviscount) are great friends that are moving into an old house off campus from their college. The house is rundown and filled with all the scary trappings of a haunted house, long hallways, creepy basements, and crawlspace doors with creaky hinges. The group of friends stumble across a piece of furniture that holds a secret to an evil entity, one that is responsible with driving people insane once they speak its name.
The genre influences are abundant in “Bye Bye Man”. Shades of “Candyman” and “Beetlejuice” motivate the mythology of speaking the monsters name, also the characters seem pulled from 1990’s slasher films like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” or “Urban Legend”. Unfortunately all of these influential pieces don’t sum up to a good experience. While the first few minutes of the film show promise, mostly because actor Leigh Whannell (from the "Insidious" films) is given the opportunity to play a deranged and tormented man, the rest of film feels thrown together with a mash-up of scenes peaked with subpar jump scares.
One of the main problems with the film is that the Bye Bye Man isn’t given a proper introduction. The first big reveal of the monster happens without much impact, the Bye Bye Man just sort of shows up. Looking at a film that played a big influence here, “Candyman”, the reveal of the hook-handed villain who haunts a young woman happens only after the narrative builds the mythology up in a few specific ways, like establishing the connection with the antagonist with the world of the protagonist through environment and storytelling that promotes the legend. “Bye Bye Man” tries to connect in this way, for a small moment in the beginning it succeeds, but the film undermines itself with cheap scares that distract from the creepy undertones and poorly composed characters.
Even the talents of Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway, yes that Faye Dunaway, aren’t enough to save this film. While there are few effective moments, a scene with an underutilized psychic is nicely composed even if its been done hundred of times before, “Bye Bye Man” never reaches the potential of the influences it tries hard to emulate.
1.25 out of 5.0