Say "bye-bye" to good writing, acting, and any semblance of a coherent and enjoyable horror film.
Is it worth $10? No
Strange, cerebral, and a downright mess, "The Bye Bye Man" isn't even good enough for late night cable movie viewing.
After a horrible bunch of murders, set in 1969, we flash forward to present day. Three college students, intelligent millennial Elliot (Douglas Smith), jock John (Lucien Laviscount), and Elliot's cute girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), decide to move into a creepy old house together. Odd things start occurring when they learn the name of a homicidal specter, named The Bye Bye Man. Soon after, they begin having hallucinations and, in their paranoid delusions, they start to mistrust everyone. On top of that, now they have to find a way to stop the demonic boogeyman from taking them all.
Since there is so little to call good, let's start with Doug Jones putting in a fairly creepy performance as the title character. Laviscount also does a decent job, with his limited screen time. The plot gives an original feel, at times, but also has some very familiar horror movie tropes thrown in. It has similarities with "It Follows," but lacks the execution and polish.
Now to the bad. This will perhaps be the worst movie of the year and it is truly a piece of shit. The villain is some sort of scarred, cloak wearing, hobo-demon who likes throwing coins at people for attention; he also has a strange looking Hellhound as his pet. If you say his name, he will make you do horrible things and eventually kill you. I mean, come on! If you are going to make that the main way to summon this dude, at least give him a decent name. Or at least explain why that IS his name. I'm pretty sure, in the history of his existence, that someone must have accidentally uttered something like, "No, I got to get going, bye bye man." Right? I guess a lot of people were pretty much screwed. There really wasn't much explanation for the name or a lot of other things in this film.
Overall the acting is wooden at best, with dialogue that should be embarrassing for its cameos provided by Carrie Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway. Bonas can barely hold an American accent together and her role is regulated to dumb, cute, blonde, which even seems difficult for her to pull off. The story is such a convoluted and non-scary mess, you find yourself giggling at some scenes and then glued to the screen, just hoping that there will be some sort of payoff. You truly can't tell if this movie was legitimately trying to be campy, or scary at times. Director Stacy Title just seems overwhelmed, trying to craft something original and terrifying. Both fall flat. The CGI is weak, with a devil dog that looks straight out of a video game, barely any blood after a shotgun blast, and everything from maggot hair to hollow bleeding faces. Yes, really. Even the film's mantra "Don't think it, don't say it" that the characters are constantly repeating, in order to attempt to keep the Bye Bye Man away, can be made into so many one line zingers on why you shouldn't see this film.
"The Bye Bye Man" is insulting to horror movie fans. Not to mention, it's really insulting to anyone who has anything more of an attention span than a hamster. In fact, no one say the name or see the film and maybe it will also just fade out of existence. We can always hope.
PERSONAL NOTE: I would like to take a moment and dedicate this review to my father, Mark Kaiser, who passed away last week. He got me into loving and respecting movies, when I was a kid. He gave me a fine appreciation for the horror genre, which is still with me to this very day. I love you dad, maybe someday I'll see you at the movies...on the flip side.